The Whitney Museum of American Art announced the appointment of Cris Scorza as Helena Rubinstein Chair of Education. In her new role, Scorza will provide vision, leadership, and strategic direction for the Whitney’s education program. She joins the Museum on July 1, 2021.
Scorza will work collaboratively with Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director, and across Museum departments to build upon a foundation of program content that supports the goals of the Museum, its exhibitions, and permanent collection. Scorza will manage the education department and its staff across four program areas: interpretation and research; public programs; school, youth, and family programs; and access and community programs. In addition, she will take an active role in the Whitney’s Latinx initiatives, as well as the Museum’s evolving Spanish language bilingual efforts. She will also hold a key leadership role as an integral part of the upper-level management team charged with strategic planning for the Museum.
“Throughout her many years of service in the field, Cris has consistently placed the community and artists at the center of her work, which makes her a perfect match for our Museum,” said Adam Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director. “She has broad experience in working with audiences of all backgrounds and ages in New York museums and in her long tenure as head of education at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. We’re thrilled to have her expertise at the helm of our education department and look forward to supporting her mission of upholding museums as places for learning, healing, and civic engagement.”
Scorza comes to the Whitney from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, where she was the senior director of education and engagement from 2017 to 2021. At MCASD, she oversaw a diverse team that expanded opportunities for engagement and broadened the museum’s relevance through innovative and inclusive learning experiences. At the Whitney, she will also oversee the activity of the Laurie M. Tisch Education Center—a dedicated space for Museum educators to work in innovative ways, offering visitors drop-in programming, hands-on learning, and in-depth and interdisciplinary programming to enliven and enrich the museum experience.
“I am genuinely excited to join the Whitney Museum’s acclaimed team of professionals and educators in my role as the new Helena Rubinstein Chair of Education,” said Scorza. “Creating programs for diverse communities that incite inquiry, build self-esteem, foster an interest in art history, and respond to a contemporary culture centered on equity and inclusion are longtime through lines in my personal and professional life. I am looking forward to sustaining collaborations with the communities that the Whitney has longstanding relationships with and to helping to build new ones with the even broader audiences that the Museum aspires to serve.”
About Cris Scorza
Cris Scorza has over twenty years of experience working at New York institutions, including the New Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, as well as ten years of audience development experience at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. At MCASD, Scorza and her team implemented a variety of programs tailored to the surrounding community, including collaborations with artists and arts organizations in the U.S./Mexico border region, leadership development for teens with an emphasis on social justice, and cutting-edge work with combat troops recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
She has curated social practice exhibitions and community-centered collaborations at MCASD, such as Oscar Romo: Recovered Stream (2020); To-Do • A Mending Project (2019); and Sanctuary Print Shop (2018). As an arts administrator she developed and managed a range of exhibitions, including Photography in Mexico: Selections from the Collection (2013); Alvaro Blancarte: Marking the Present (2015), DELIMITATIONS: A Survey of the 1821 United StatesMexico Border (2016); and Papel Chicano Dos: Works of Paper from the Cheech Marin Collection (2016). She has also authored essays on Las Hermanas Iglesias, Ramiro Gomez, John Valadez, and Daniel Guzman.
Scorza currently is a member of numerous professional and civic committees, including the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Art Advisory Committee, Museums & Race Steering Committee, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet Diversity and Inclusion Advisory, and the Editorial Advisory Board of Exhibition: A Journal of Exhibition Theory and Practice for Museum Professionals.
Born in Mexico City, Scorza studied painting at the Faculty of Arts and Design, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She holds a BA in arts administration and art history from Baruch College, CUNY, an MA in leadership in museum education from Bank Street College of Education, and a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University.