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We’re delighted to introduce CAA members to a new series of coffee talk conversations between Meme Omogbai, our executive director and CEO, and Theresa Avila, the Program Chair of the 110 Annual Conference. In this first video, they discuss the format of the Conference and how this key program is part of CAA’s response to members, both domestic and international, and vital to positioning our organization for sustainable growth. Upcoming conversations will address questions sent by members. Check it out and send us your thoughts for the next installment! 

Please send us your questions: 

Speaker Biographies 

Theresa Avila is a curator and an Assistant Professor of non-Western Art History at California State University, Channel Islands. She earned a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of New Mexico with a focus on Modern Latin American and Latin@x art. As a scholar and curator her work focuses on the intersections between the visual and political, as she interrogates historiography, empire and nation building, and systems of differentiation. Published works include “Echoing the Call for Revolution: Emiliano Zapata in Chican@x Art” for the exhibition catalogue Emiliano Zapata despues de Zapata (2019), the book Making and Being Made: Contemporary Citizenship, Art, and Visual Culture (2017), as well as the forthcoming “The History of the Barrio Mobile Art Studio, a vehicle for creative transformations” for the fifty-year anthology of Self Help Graphics (2023) and the project “Dialogos: on Landscapes of the Americas” for Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture Journal. (2023). As the Director of the Broome Library Gallery at CSUCI she curated Magnetic Currents: Art charged by the U.S. and Mexico Border (2020); Colecion de Lucha, Desde Santa Paula a las Americas: The Personal Archive of Luzma Espinosa (2019); and Tracing History: Mapping California (2018). Dr. Avila firmly believes we must activate art in meaningful and engage art as a tool for change. 

Meme Omogbai, CAA Executive Director and CEO: Before joining CAA, Meme Omogbai served as a member and past board chair of the New Jersey Historic Trust, one of four landmark entities dedicated to preservation of the state’s historic and cultural heritage, and Montclair State University’s Advisory Board. Named one of 25 Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal, Meme has over twenty-five years of experience in corporate, government, higher education, and museum sectors. As the first American of African descent to chair the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), Omogbai led an initiative to rebrand the AAM as a global, inclusive alliance. While COO and trustee, she spearheaded a major transformation in operating performance at the Newark Museum. During her time as deputy assistant chancellor of New Jersey’s Department of Higher Education, Omogbai received legislative acknowledgment and was recognized with the New Jersey Meritorious Service award for her work on college affordability initiatives for families. Omogbai received her MBA from Rutgers University and holds a CPA. She did postgraduate work at Harvard University’s executive management program and has earned the designation of Chartered Global Management Accountant. She studied global museum executive leadership at the J. Paul Getty Trust Museum Leadership Institute, where she also served on the faculty.  

Filed under: Annual Conference