USF's Museum Blog

Alumni Connect: The Museum of Latin American Art

This post marks the first of a new series called Alumni Connect on University of San Francisco’s museum studies blog. A little over a year ago, our founding first cohort walked across the graduation stage with their newly-minted MA degrees in museum studies. We miss them, but are proud that they are taking what they’ve learned at USF and making a difference in the lives of our community-at-large all over the U.S. and beyond.  In this post, we hear about new initiatives at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach California where alumna Nalini Elias (Museum Studies, ’14) is hard at work.

One of the nation’s leading museums of modern and contemporary Latin American art and culture, MOLAA presents exhibitions of work by renowned artists. The museum is also dedicated to providing opportunities to local emerging artists in Long Beach through a new gallery space called The Port to Learning, funded by the Port of Long Beach, one of the largest ports in the United States. Along with Gabriela Martinez, Curator of Education at MOLAA, Nalini co-curated Who Are You?, the inaugural exhibition of this educational initiative.


Nalini Elias (left) and Gabriela Martinez (right).

Featuring fourteen local artists in dialogue with pieces from MOLAA’s permanent collection, Who Are You? explores the way that we choose to express aspects of our identities through language, clothing, traditions, our diet and our own bodies. With over thirty paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures, this exhibition focuses on how artists play with, manipulate and struggle with various categories that make up our identities while creating a rich visual environment where visitors can reflect on how they transmit or conceal who they are.

Segovia. De Chile Mole y Dulce. Hi Res copy

Cintia Alejandra Segovia (Mexico, b. 1984) De Chile, Mole y Dulce, 2015.  Photographs, dimensions variable.  Courtesy of Artist.


Nalini not only co-curated the show, but she also created content for the educational booklet and helped design the webpage. “I really feel like I’m growing professionally, and personally, at MOLAA, as I have been given a lot of freedom with my educational programming selections, which I highly enjoy and appreciate,” says Nalini, “They support my ideas and encourage me to keep thinking big! I’m not only creating meaningful educational programming and materials, but we are already planning exhibition themes for The Port to Learning for 2017! You can check out our first exhibit HERE.”



The crowds came out for this event at MOLAA, thanks to Nalini’s hard work.

“Another great thing about working at MOLAA,” she adds “is that I moderate and create content for the museum’s various social media channels. I am able to design relevant social media campaigns through an educational lens.” An example can be found HERE.


Currently Nalini is supervising a group of five guest curators, who are local high school seniors from Long Beach, in organizing Artful Healing, an exhibit featuring works that display art’s restorative power. Artful Healing will run from April 10 to May 29, 2016 in MOLAA’s Port to Learning Gallery.

We congratulate Nalini on her work in Long Beach and look forward to learning how things develop at both the Port of Learning and The Museum of Latin American Art.  Stay tuned for more posts about how our alumni are blazing trails in the museum world.

For more information on University of San Francisco’s museum studies program, click here.

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