Meet Christian Guerra
Christian Guerra was the first to respond to my new Profiles format and I was excited to read her response to my questionnaire as I was with the many others that came in right after. When I first added the Profiles section to ALIM, it was with the intention of sharing simple yet crucial information that could reach a young person, or really any person, who might stumble upon this website and see what opportunities are out there in the museum field that they might not have realized before. Additionally, this serves to highlight the many Latinx museum workers that serve our non profits who deserve more praise and acknowledgment from the museum community as a whole. As the website grows and I gain insight into what works and what doesn't for ALIM, Profiles, as well as other sections, may shift and change formatting but the goals will remain the same. I think many of us in the field who have seen AAM's Demographic Report know just how minuscule the representation is and I intend on highlighting as many Latinx museum professionals as I can.
Name: Christian Guerra
Occupation: Art Collection and Program Manger at the Boston Art Commission, City Of Boston
What does your average day in the museum look like: No day is the same, but I generally have a plan and goals that need to be met then adjusted throughout the day to accommodate any unanticipated surprises.
What (project, initiative, etc.) are you currently working on right now for your museum: Currently focusing on our new Percent for Art program, commissioning new works of public art.
What is your educational background: I have a BA in Linguistics and a MS in Library and Information Sciences, with a focus on Archives and Cultural Institutions from Simmons College; my research focused on social historical narrative reflected in publicly commissioned art.
What led you to the museum field: A graduate of The University of Texas, I was an Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (ICCAE) fellow and scholar, where I developed my professional passion in global perspective, human rights, advocacy, & cultural narrative. Before I attended graduate school, I interned at the Rubin Center of Contemporary Art working with artists such as Mark Bradford, Sean Caulfield, youth artists from El Paso, Texas, and C.D. Juarez where I first experienced art as a powerful tool for dialogue and social change.
What are your earliest memories in a museum: Going to a natural science museum in west Texas.
Any obstacles you've had to overcome to get to where you are now in the field: Working in an environment where relationships and institutional memory goes as far back as the American revolution, I found it difficult to understand the social systems, community connections, and navigate these relationships.
How did you overcome these obstacles: I am still continually learning and keep myself open to communication to build my professional relationships with colleagues and community members to build trust.
What has been your proudest moment with regard to where you are in your career and the work you do in the field: After working on the Dear Boston exhibition, cities across the country and internationally reached out to us as a resource to respond to incidences of trauma through art and thoughtfully developing a process for memorials.
What advice would you give a student thinking about entering the field: Don't be shy about asking to get more involved.
What book/source/link would you recommend to learn more about the kind of work you do: Spirit Poles and Flying Pigs by Erika Doss
What's next for you in your career: I see myself growing professionally and promoting a legacy of stability, transparency, and meaningful public art. As the BAC’s collection included public artworks that are hundreds of years old and new artworks that are being designed to last hundreds into the future, my goal is to influence system wide changes that will outlast me.
What is your favorite museum to go to other than your own and why: deCordova Museum
Anything else you'd like to add that you want others to know about yourself or your job:I oversee the physical and intellectual care, custody, and maintenance of over 500 works of public art owned by the City of Boston. I advise the Director and the Board of the Boston Art Commission on procedures and policy development necessary to ensure proper Collections management. I also supervise the BAC submission and approval process of public art projects and guides the development of City-commissioned projects e.g. Boston AIR, Percent-for-Art, and special projects. An important part of my position is to advocate on behalf of the collection for resources, act as the liaison to the community, works to safeguard artist’s rights, and prioritize cultural equity in relation to City’s public art program.✻