(Boston, MA—AUGUST 22, 2023)—The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) announces the appointment of Erika Umali as the museum’s first Curator of Collections. In this newly created role, supported by the Leadership in Arts Museums initiative, Umali will lead strategy, acquisitions and exhibitions for the ICA’s collection, as well as expanding access and visibility for the collection through public exhibitions and programming, publishing initiatives, and digital platforms. The ICA’s collection, begun in 2006, has strong representation of women artists and artists of color, and reflects the exhibition program at the museum.

“We are thrilled to welcome Erika to our curatorial team, to learn from her, and to work together to make the collection an integral, driving programmatic force at the ICA,” said Ruth Erickson, Barbara Lee Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs. “The role of Curator of Collections will expand our capacity and support our commitment to reflect strong, diverse voices and perspectives in our collection and in all aspects of our work.” 

“I am elated to join the ICA’s curatorial team at such a transformational moment in the development of the collection,” added Umali. “I look forward to collaborating with the brilliant team here to support their ambitious and thought-provoking programming, and to contribute towards building a leading collection of contemporary art that fully reflects the diverse narratives and histories of the world around us.” 

Since the ICA began a permanent collection in 2006, the museum has built a forward-thinking, 20th and 21st-century collection, distinguished by its representation of women artists and commitment to diversity. The collection has greatly expanded in recent years, with the addition of major acquisitions by Yayoi Kusama, John Akomfrah, Firelei Báez, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Barbara Kruger, among many others. The full collection is available here

Umali comes to the ICA from the Brooklyn Museum, where she served as the inaugural Assistant Curator of the Collection and oversaw thousands of acquisitions. Alongside this, she also organized several exhibitions including Jeffrey Gibson: When Fire Is Applied to a Stone It Cracks, Brooklyn Abstraction: Four Artists, Four Walls, featuring installations by Maya Hayuk, José Parlá, Kennedy Yanko, and the late Leon Polk Smith, and Art Breaks, a collaboration between MTV and the Brooklyn Museum. Prior to her role as Assistant Curator of the Collection, Umali served as the Brooklyn Museum’s Mellon Curatorial Fellow. 

About the ICA/Boston

Since its founding in 1936, the ICA has shared the pleasures of reflection, inspiration, imagination, and provocation that contemporary art offers with its audiences. A museum at the intersection of contemporary art and civic life, the ICA has advanced a bold vision for amplifying the artist’s voice and expanding the museum’s role as educator, incubator, and convener. Its exhibitions, performances, and educational programs provide access to the breadth and diversity of contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas. The ICA is located at 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, MA, 02210. For more information, call 617-478-3100. Follow the ICA on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.   


The Curator of Collections position is supported by Leadership in Arts Museums, an initiative to create more racial equity in arts museum leadership led by the Ford Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Pilot House Philanthropy and Alice L. Walton Foundation. 

About Leadership in Arts Museums

Leadership in Arts Museums is a $11+ million initiative over the next five years to invest in a variety of efforts to create more racial equity in art museum leadership. A partnership between the Ford Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Pilot House Philanthropy and Alice L. Walton Foundation, the initiative provides funding to museums to increase leadership roles such as curators, conservators, collections managers, community engagement staff, and educators in a manner designed to advance the goal of racial equity.