(SUMMIT, NJ) -- The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (VACNJ) has announced the hiring of Kristen Evangelista as its new Director of Exhibitions, effective June 1, 2022. Evangelista will join VACNJ after serving as Director of the William Paterson University Galleries for nearly a decade. "I am delighted to welcome Kristen as the new Director of Exhibitions,” said VACNJ Executive Director, Melanie Cohn. “Kristen’s knowledge of art and depth of experience as a curator is matched by her community focus and her love of working with contemporary artists. These qualities make her the perfect choice to lead the museum program for the Art Center."
Evangelista has spent nearly two decades as a curator and arts administrator at non-profit arts organizations, museums, and higher education institutions in New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. Evangelista served as the Director of the William Paterson University Galleries from 2011 to 2021, where she developed an exhibition program dedicated to presenting historically under-recognized artists and artistic movements. She organized major programs exploring diverse cultural perspectives, interdisciplinary approaches, social justice, and sustainability. She routinely collaborated with artists in the creative process, encouraging experimental and innovative approaches to art-making. She secured 20 grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, among others.
Prior to her time at William Paterson University, Evangelista presented exhibitions at the San José Museum of Art, Southern Exposure (San Francisco), and the Institute of Contemporary Art San José. As Associate Curator at the San José Museum of Art, she organized 20 solo and thematic exhibitions. At Southern Exposure, she supported emerging artists to create risk-taking new works including immersive environments and large-scale installations.
Evangelista received a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history and women’s studies from Wesleyan University, and a Master of Arts degree from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. She served on the board of the New Jersey Association of Museums from 2018 to 2021.
For more than 85 years, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey has been exclusively dedicated to viewing, making, and learning about contemporary art. Recognized as a leading non-profit arts organization, the Art Center’s renowned Studio School, acclaimed exhibitions, and educational outreach initiatives serve thousands of youth, families, seniors, and people with special needs every year.
The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is located at 68 Elm Street in Summit, New Jersey. Gallery hours: Monday– Thursday, 10:00am–8:00pm; Friday & Saturday, 10:00am–5:00pm; and Sunday, 11:00am–4:00pm. Please call 908.273.9121 to confirm holiday hours.
Significant support for the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is provided by the Wilf Family Foundation; Peter R. & Cynthia K. Kellogg Foundation; New Jersey State Council on the Arts; The Estate of Pamela Hauptfleisch; and the Art Center community of supporters.