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Audrey Lopez takes over Greenway public art program

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Audrey Lopez takes over Greenway public art program
Past public art exhibits on The Greenway include Yinka Shonibare’s “Wind Sculpture” from 2019. PHOTO: CELINA COLBY

Audrey Lopez will take the helm at the Rose Kennedy Greenway’s public art program this September. It’s a crucial time for public art, as pandemic restrictions are lifted and streets are flooded with viewers once again. Art lovers will also be looking for the impact of the 2020 racial justice protests on Boston’s culture scene. Lopez has the opportunity to launch a completely new artistic chapter for the Greenway.

“I am thrilled to join the Conservancy as director and curator of public art,” says Lopez. “I look forward to working with the Conservancy’s staff, board and larger creative communities in establishing the next chapter of The Greenway’s transformational public art program and thriving public spaces that sustain, nourish and expand the landscapes, imaginations and communities of Boston and beyond.”

Lopez was formerly the public art and engagement curator at the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts & Culture and the curator of community engagement at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara. She holds a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where her scholarship homed in on on community-based participatory arts projects with multilingual youth and families.

She succeeds Lucas Cowan, who worked in the role for seven years, installing 39 temporary public art pieces and expanding the Greenway’s reputation as an artistic destination. Cowan’s curation showcased a fairly even split between local and international artists and represented a variety of media and artist backgrounds, including artists like Yinka Shonibare, Aakash Nihalani and Shinique Smith.

With the Greenway so well primed, Lopez has the opportunity to expand and grow the program with diversity and inclusion at the forefront of the work. The Greenway’s public art program goes well beyond visual art exhibitions. “Audrey’s years of experience at the intersection of public art and inclusive creative placemaking will serve as an invaluable resource as the Conservancy looks to our next chapter of inspiring and relevant art on The Greenway,” says Chris Cook, executive director of the Greenway Conservancy.

Lopez was selected for the role in part due to her track record of producing award-winning public art exhibitions that resonate with communities of color. Her advocacy for equitable inclusion of and engagement with marginalized communities will be a strong tenet of her work at the Greenway as well. She says, “I am so looking forward to learning, working and creating with Boston’s diverse communities and neighborhoods.”