Nancy J. Uscher, dean of the UNLV College of Fine Arts, is pleased to announce Alisha Kerlin as executive director of the Barrick Museum of Art. Kerlin served as the interim director for two years and was offered the position following a nationwide search.
Kerlin has more than a decade of museum and gallery experience in addition to her professional practice as an artist, educator, curator, and researcher. She encourages dialogue about art and ideas through interdisciplinary programs and innovative exhibitions linked to wide-ranging community outreach. With full graduate faculty status, she received the UNLV College of Fine Arts Outstanding Administrative Faculty of the Year in 2017. In the same year, she earned an inaugural UNLV Top Tier award, confirming her academic excellence, creative activity, and pursuit of research befitting a Top Tier institution. Kerlin played a vital role in the Barrick’s transition from UNLV’s “hidden jewel” into an award-winning university art museum. As the former assistant curator and collections manager, she introduced practices that brought the organization of the visual art collection in line with international museum standards. As interim executive director, she rebranded the institution by adding “of Art” to the name, solidifying the 50-year-old museum as a gathering place for the creative community.
"We are beyond thrilled to have Alisha officially join us as the Barrick's permanent executive director," Uscher said. "The experience, talent, skill, and dedication she brings to the position is unmatched, and with her leadership, the Barrick will continue to be a cultural cornerstone of Las Vegas. In addition, Alisha's vision will carry the Barrick far into the future — creating new and innovative programs, attracting thought-provoking exhibitions, and further cementing UNLV as Nevada's arts leader."
Committed to making the Barrick an accessible resource for all, Kerlin has created initiatives that target both the academic community and K-12 schoolchildren. During the 2017-18 academic year, the Bus to the Barrick campaign brought more than a thousand visitors to campus, most of them for the first time. She is developing new positions for a museum researchers-in-residence and community engagement artists-in-residence, providing opportunities for UNLV scholars and expanding the definition of research and community engagement throughout the student body and across Southern Nevada. A graduate of the University of Tennessee (BFA) and the Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts, Bard College (MFA), she connects the university to a top-tier cohort of emerging scholars and artists. Kerlin’s own artwork has been shown at institutions ranging from P3Studio at The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, to the Museum of Modern Art’s PS1 Museum in New York.
"As a national and international fine art collector/donor and patron, I am thrilled for UNLV and Las Vegas at Alisha Kerlin being named as executive director of the Barrick Museum of Art," said Patrick Duffy, former president of the Las Vegas Art Museum. "Her sensitivity as an artist, curatorial and business acumen, and respect in the community will shed great light on a proven institution that has reached deeply and broadly within Southern Nevada."
Since joining UNLV, Kerlin has instituted several positive initiatives for the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art. These include community art days that attract more than 400 people; an annual art walk that doubled in attendance its second year; and Bus to Barrick, which brings more than 30 busloads of children from the Las Vegas community to experience UNLV and art, most for the first time.
"Alisha is a stellar curator with a passion for arts and artists. Her grounding as an artist helps her understand artists' needs and desire to communicate," said artist Joan Linder. "She knows how to facilitate artists' projects, and how to work with artists. The artworks that she assembles for group exhibitions is exceptional. She knows how to weave together interesting and important dialogues between artworks so that visual, intellectual material, and conceptual connections can be teased out by a diverse group of viewers."