Arts Organizations in Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth Announce Hires, Departures & Promotions

by Jessica Fuentes June 1, 2023

The Menil Collection and McClain Gallery in Houston, Daisha Board Gallery in Dallas, and Fort Works Art in Fort Worth have announced new hires, departures, and promotions for their respective galleries and organizations.

A headshot of artist and cultural worker Mary Magsamen.

Mary Magsamen. Image courtesy of the Menil Collection.

Mary Magsamen, who was the former curator at Aurora Picture Show and left the organization last spring after 13 years, has recently joined the The Menil Collection as the Manager of Public Programs. The position, which was previously held by Lauren Pollock, is responsible for managing innovative public programs in support of the Menil’s mission, collection, and curatorial vision, from conception through implementation. Additionally, the Manager helps to identify program sponsors, develop and maintain relationships with donors, and cultivate relationships with presenters, performers, scholars, and visual and performing artists. 

A representative of the Menil Collection told Glasstire: “With over thirteen years of experience as the Curator at Aurora Picture Show, Mary created collaborative projects with artists, curators, and institutions, including the Menil, Project Row Houses, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, the University of Houston, DiverseWorks, the Houston Public Library, and many more. With up to 24-30 programs presented annually and a small staff, Mary wore many hats, all of which required effective communication, organization, and teamwork. Mary’s rich experiences within the arts and strong passion for empowering artistic voices matched the Menil’s goal to attract, educate, and inspire diverse audiences.”

Ms. Magsamen holds a BFA from the University of Denver and an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She has over two decades of experience working in the arts field in instructional and administrative roles at colleges and universities, as an arts administrator and curator at Aurora Picture Show, and as a practicing artist.

Currently, Ms. Magsamen is working with Tony Martinez, the Menil’s Public Programs Coordinator, to implement the museum’s already scheduled summer programs, including a July 15 Inprint Writing Workout in conjunction with the exhibition Hyperreal:Gray Foy. Additionally, she is planning for fall programs, including artist and curator talks. Learn more about upcoming programs at the Menil Collection via the organization’s website.

A headshot of gallerist Erin Dorn.

Erin Dorn

McClain Gallery in Houston announced the departure of Director Erin Dorn, who worked at the gallery for 15 years. During her tenure, Ms. Dorn oversaw the gallery’s exhibition program and art fair presentations, developed relationships with artists, and advised clients. When gallery owner Robert McClain established the representation of the Dorothy Hood Estate in collaboration with the Art Museum of South Texas in 2019, Ms. Dorn led the initiative to establish Ms. Hood as an international figure. 

In an announcement shared by the gallery, Ms. Dorn stated, “My time at McClain Gallery has been full of joy, growth, and collaboration. I’ve learned an exceptional amount, made the best of friends, and am eternally appreciative to Robert McClain for his mentorship.”

Mr. McClain remarked, “Over the last 15 years, Erin has been like family. She is leaving an indelible imprint on the character of McClain Gallery. Myself and my colleagues at the gallery are forever grateful. Success is best when shared. We wish Erin well in the next chapter of her career. She will be a force in our community.”

A composite image including headshots of Sharon Graham and Hélène Schlumberger.

Sharon Graham and Hélène Schlumberger

Ms. Dorn’s final day with the gallery will be June 7, 2023. With her departure, McClain Gallery has announced that current staffers Sharon Graham and Hélène Schlumberger are being promoted to the position of Co-Directors. Ms. Graham has worked with the gallery for 14 years, building client relationships and managing artists, sales, operations, and events. Ms. Schlumberger has been with the gallery for a decade and served in the roles of preparator, registrar, and exhibition production.

A headshot of educator and curator Nickolas Gaines.

Nickolas Gaines

Earlier this week, Daisha Board Gallery announced the expansion of its team to include Nickolas Gaines as Chief Curator of Art and Community Engagement. The announcement comes just one month after the gallery opened a secondary location in downtown Dallas. 

Mr. Gaines holds a BA in American Multicultural Studies with an emphasis in African American Humanities from Minnesota State University Moorhead, an MA in Urban Ministry from the Moody Bible Institute, and a Master’s in Divinity and Chaplaincy from Tennessee Temple University. Mr. Gaines has worked in a variety of positions and brings nearly two decades of experience building community and working in education. In his new role at Daisha Board Gallery, Mr. Gaines will curate exhibitions, create educational experiences for artists, and produce programs such as artist talks, film screenings, and community service projects.

In a statement posted on the Daisha Board Gallery social media channels, the gallery explained that Mr. Gaines, “seeks to curate art exhibitions that serve as a window and mirror for viewers- a window into the lives of people’s experiences and identities that people may not be familiar with, and a mirror of representation so that people of color, LGTBQIA+, persons with disabilities, and gender diverse people can see themselves, their experiences, and identities amplified and centered. He sees art as a conduit of healing, portal for community care, and a tangible symbol to exist in our fullness.”

A headshot of artist and gallerist Jay Wilkinson.

Jay Wilkinson

Last month, Jay Wilkinson was hired as the Gallery Manager and Assistant Director at Fort Works Art (FWA), a gallery in Fort Worth. Previously, Sarah Colby held the position, but she has recently shifted to a remote role. 

Mr. Wilkinson studied at Pratt Art Institute and the University of North Texas. He began his career as an arts professional by organizing pop-up shows as part of the collective Bobby on Drums. In 2016 he co-founded Art Tooth, an artist-run project gallery, with a group of Fort Worth-based artists. From 2021 to 2023, he owned and operated Dang Good Candy, a studio and gallery space in downtown Fort Worth, which showcased local and regional artists. 

In his new position at FWA, Mr. Wilkinson oversees exhibition planning, installation and deinstallation, and cultivating relationships with artists. Additionally, he’ll work with Fort Works Arts’ nonprofit Gallery of Dreams, which organizes an annual art exhibition for local high school students.

Mr. Wilkinson is no stranger to FWA: He was previously represented by the gallery from 2017 to 2021. When asked what he was most excited about in his new role, Mr. Wilkinson told Glasstire, “I love working with the artists and the physical works themselves. I really enjoy seeing the life of the work after it leaves the artist’s studio. It’s exciting too because Lauren Saba (the owner and Director of FWA) and I work very well together… our ideas compliment each other very much. I can’t wait to see what new energies we can bring to the already rich community in Fort Worth.”

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