Meet Patricia Matos
Full Name: Patricia Matos
Where do you work: Grounds For Sculpture
What is your job title: Executive Associate
What does your average day in the museum look like: Everyday is an adventure, things change daily.
What (project, initiative, etc.) are you currently working on right now for your museum: Strategic Community Outreach around our current Joyce J. Scott exhibit, cultivating interest in POC to visit museum, creating programming around Joyce J. Scott exhibition, assisting with shaping Governance processes for museum
What is your educational background: Master's degree in Museum Leadership, Drexel University
What led you to the museum field: My love for art, my ability to create, underrepresentation of POC in museums.
What are your earliest memories in a museum: My art teacher recognized that I had artistic abilities in elementary school and created opportunities for me to submit my artwork to competitions locally which led to an art camps and opportunities to visit local museums. I fondly remember taking a trip to The Met in Junior High School.
Any obstacles you've had to overcome to get to where you are now in the field: Experiencing institutional racism. Feeling as if I had to get a master's degree to be taken seriously in museums. Gaining respect of my peers as the one person of color that works in the administration of my museum. Directly experiencing workplace racism and discrimination and not feeling supported. Doing work outside of my title to show that I am both interested and have the ability to make connections, come up with engaging programming, etc. Feeling tokenized.
How did you overcome these obstacles: I have spoken with my director about these issues, recommended professional development opportunities with a specific person that I know is working on addressing institutional racism and cultural competence. There is still much to change.
What has been your proudest moment with regard to where you are in your career and the work you do in the field: Shaping programming around the Joyce J. Scott exhibit. Creating partnerships with local artists and community partners to bring engaging and honest dialogue with the community perspective to allow our community to tell the story of POC around the exhibition.
What advice would you give a student thinking about entering the field: Do it, be aware of what you hope to do but keep in mind that it may change. Don't be afraid to ask for money, ask for what you are worth, then add taxes. Find out what the culture is like at the institution--spy on them a bit. Review their HR policies and language (this says a lot about them as an institution), ensure that they are an EOE and that is posted prominently in places where they are soliciting employees. Don't intern for free--accepting this type of situation is creating a culture where people expect you to work for free--slavery is over. Don't accept extra work unless you can discuss extra pay--again, as a POC, this should never happen. Don't wait for anyone to choose you, create your own opportunities outside of your workspace and understand that if you are speaking, people are listening even when it doesn't seem like it.
What book/source/link would you recommend to learn more about the kind of work you do: https://incluseum.com/2014/01/20/the-danger-of-the-d-word-museums-and-diversity/
What's next for you in your career: I am a curator--I have to create opportunities for myself and no longer wait to be chosen or wait for someone to hire me with that title. I plan to create spaces for women of color who are most underrepresented in museums to show their work in creative spaces which are accessible to other POC. Eventually, I would like to pursue my Ph.D. studying the intersections of art and religion and how they have influenced each other throughout history.
What is your favorite museum to go to other than your own and why: El Museo del Barrio, because I get reminded that Latinx's are amazing creators and are some of the most resilient and creative people, we are just underrepresented in PWI's. Additionally, it reminds me of our proximity to others throughout the Caribbean and our historic connection to Africa.
Anything else you'd like to add that you want others to know about yourself or your job: I am a proud Afro-Latina