Angela Mattox hired as PICA Artistic Director

Photo: John Lee.

PORTLAND, OR — Angela Mattox, former Performing Arts Curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), will join the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art as the new Artistic Director, Victoria Frey, PICA’s Executive Director, announced today.

“We are happy to welcome Angela to PICA and to Portland. She is a respected peer with a stellar reputation in the field and among artists,” said Frey. “As we look to expand our role in the community, it is inspiring to work with someone with such passion for the explorations of artists and commitment to their long-term careers. Her experience in working across disciplines, and her commitment to bringing communities together will be strong assets here.”

“I’m excited to bring my artistic vision to such a progressive art organization, situated in one of the most vibrant and creative hubs in the country,” said Mattox. “It is an amazing opportunity to connect art and ideas with Portland audiences at this particular cultural moment.”

From 2003 through 2011, Mattox revitalized YBCA’s performing arts presenting program with a global eye focused on experimental practice, cross cultural exchange, and interdisciplinary work. In her eight years at YBCA, she supported such visionary artists as Ralph Lemon, Meg Stuart, Nick Cave, and Lemi Ponifasio, and championed new work by local artists in the Bay Area including Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Keith Hennessy, and Sarah Shelton Mann. The artists and projects that Mattox has supported illustrate her expansive vision of contemporary practice that spans visual and performing art.

Artist Ralph Lemon noted that Mattox is, “among the few the modern performance curators in the U.S. that truly understand the important opportunity of the job: bringing compelling and challenging new art to the public, while taking care of the artists making the work. Angela is fearless, takes risks and has a vision beyond perceived conventions. Dance can go on a wall and a theater can thrive in a garage; if it is good work, it can be shared beyond the stage.”

Before her position at YBCA, Mattox worked for Arts International from 1999-2003, where she coordinated such national grant programs as the Artists Exploration Fund, the California Presenters Initiative, and The Fund for US Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions. She has continued this work at the national and international level serving in networks such as the National Dance Project, the Japan Foundation’s Performing Arts Japan committee, the Contemporary Arts Centers network, and Headlands Center for the Arts Program Advisory Council, and on panels including the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Multi-Arts Production Fund, Mid-Atlantic Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission, and Western Arts Alliance.

“Angela is one of the bright stars nationally in contemporary performing arts,” said Philip Bither, McGuire Senior Curator, Performing Arts, Walker Art Center. “She has done groundbreaking work during her years at [YBCA], and I think her strong curatorial vision, her close relationships with so many artists, and her care and concern for audiences and the community within which she is working will serve PICA and Portland extremely well.”

Mattox will begin her official tenure at PICA on September 1, 2011, and will be on the ground for this year’s Time-Based Art Festival, which is the final year of TBA Guest Artistic Director Cathy Edwards’ three-year appointment. “For the past four years,” Mattox remarked, “I’ve eagerly anticipated going to the TBA Festival.  It’s always an immersive experience full of discovery—a confluence of artistic, intellectual, and social engagement.” The hiring of Mattox as a year-round, resident AD marks a strategic return for PICA to an artistic leader who is embedded in the Portland community, and invested in the organization’s long-range conversations with artists and supporters.

“We are grateful to Cathy Edwards, and Mark Russell before her, for their leadership of the TBA Festival—they brought new vision and voices to the community, and will continue to serve PICA as valued advisors,” said PICA Board Member Deborah Horrell, who chaired the Artistic Director Search Committee. “Mattox fulfills PICA’s desire for a leader with presence, a commitment to civic outreach, and a strong artistic vision. We are confident that she will inspire the staff, board, funders, and our future audiences as PICA moves forward and expands our presence.”

“I am thrilled to join the PICA team at this exciting stage in the organization’s trajectory,” said Mattox. “PICA is a leader in supporting new forms, ideas, and aesthetics and it is an honor to build upon the organization’s robust artistic legacy of experimentation and innovation.

Press Contact: Patrick Leonard | Communications Director
503.242.1419 x224 | patrick@pica.org

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2 Responses to Angela Mattox hired as PICA Artistic Director

  1. Congrats to both PICA and to Angela. What a great move for everyone involved. See you at the TBA Festival.

  2. jon tarry says:

    Brilliant, huge congratulations all, an awesome talent, expansive vision, and sensitivity to truly make a difference in contemporary practice.

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