Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Appoints Melissa McDonnell Luján as Deputy Director

by Jessica Fuentes September 13, 2023

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) has announced its appointment of Melissa McDonnell Luján as Deputy Director. Seba Suber, the museum’s current Deputy Director, will now serve as the organization’s Director of Partnerships, where she will focus on CAMH’s partnership with Houston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy, and other new initiatives.

A headshot of arts administrator Melissa McDonnell Luján.

Melissa McDonnell Luján. Photo: Fernanda Varela.

Ms. Luján brings a wealth of experience serving in leadership roles with a focus on capital development and community engagement. She has spent nine years at The Menil Collection, most recently holding the position of Director of Project Development. In this role, she leads capital projects and real estate development for the organization. Prior to that, Ms. Luján worked at Ballroom Marfa for nearly four years, first as Project Manager and later as Deputy Director. She holds a Master of Architecture from Rice University, a BA in Spatial Arts and Design from Central Saint Martins in London, and an Associate of Applied Science in Retail and Exhibition Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. 

Beyond her work in art institutions, Ms. Luján has also served as the treasurer on the board of Gulf Coast: Journal of Literature and Fine Arts at the University of Houston over the past seven years; on the Houston Art Alliance’s Arts Disaster Resilience Advisory Committee; and on the Montrose Livable Centers Advisory Committee. Additionally, she is active in the design community through the American Institute of Architects and the Rice School of Architecture.

In a press release, Hesse McGraw, Executive Director of CAMH, stated, “Melissa is widely recognized as an innovative, pragmatic, and tenacious museum leader. She approaches complex projects with a generous spirit of service to community and yet is highly disciplined in her approach to strategic objectives. It will be an honor to partner with her to chart CAMH’s future, which will jointly emphasize direct support for artists, benefits to our city and audiences, and positive societal impact.”

Ms. Luján remarked, “As new opportunities and challenges unfold in the 21st century, cities, neighborhoods, and cultural organizations must ensure we are making space for artists — who imbue our daily lives with awareness, innovation, and meaning. Houston is a wonderfully idiosyncratic place for contemporary art. I am honored and excited to join the CAMH team as we celebrate 75 years and advance the Museum’s future through the prismatic lens of centering artists.”

Ms. Luján will begin her new position at CAMH in October.

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