Lauren Tate Baeza Appointed Curator of African Art at High Museum of Art in Atlanta

By Victoria L. Valentine


Curator Lauren Tate Baeza

THE HIGH MUSEUM OF ART in Atlanta appointed Lauren Tate Baeza as its Fred and Rita Richman curator of African art. She will oversee the Atlanta museum’s African art department. A curator and Africanist with experience working with museums and international aid organizations, Baeza has been serving as the director of exhibitions at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta since 2018. She officially joins the High Museum on Nov. 9. The announcement was made today.


“Lauren’s depth of experience in not only museums but also community organizations focused on education and outreach, and her considerable accomplishments as a curator, scholar and leader, make her uniquely positioned to guide the future of our African art department,” High Museum of Art Director Rand Suffolk said in a statement. “We look forward to working with her to further our efforts to build a robust exhibition program and exceptional collection of African art that will continue to resonate with the High’s diverse audiences.”


In her new role, Baeza will organize exhibitions and programs and manage the museum’s collection of more than 1,100 African objects. Dating from ancient times to the present, the holdings reflect the rich history and diverse cultures of the continent. The collection primarily focuses on traditional masks, sculptures, textiles, ceramics, metalwork and beadwork, with a selection of contemporary works ranging from photography, paintings, drawings, and prints to barbershop signs, political banners, and a sculptural textile by El Anatsui.

“Lauren’s depth of experience in not only museums but also community organizations focused on education and outreach, and her considerable accomplishments as a curator, scholar and leader, make her uniquely positioned to guide the future of our African art department.” — High Museum Director Rand Suffolk

Concurrent with her tenure at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (2018-2020), Baeza has also served as curator of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, which contains about 10,000 works, and manager of the James Allen and John Littlefield Collection, which is known for its expansive cache of lynching imagery. Previously, she was executive director of Atlanta’s APEX Museum. The Black history museum was founded in 1978 and its name stands for the African American panoramic experience.

Baeza was born in Atlanta. She earned a master of arts degree in African studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); a bachelor of arts degree in Africana studies with a cultural studies concentration from California State University, Northridge; and a certification in curatorial studies from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Beyond her curatorial work, Baeza has first-hand experience in East Africa. She has worked on environmental and community development initiatives in Kenya and Uganda and has also lectured and taught seminars at the Nafasi Academy in Tanzania.


“This is a very exciting time for the field,” said Baeza. “There are numerous incredibly talented artists living and working on the continent with increasing visibility. I look forward to creating a dialogue between their work and the impressive artifacts in the High’s African art collection. I’m honored to join such a sharp curatorial team and to meaningfully contribute to a premier arts institution in my hometown.” CT

IMAGE: Lauren Tate Baeza. | Photo by Gabriela Arp, Courtesy High Museum of Art


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