Colby Museum Announces Four New Team Members

March 13, 2024

The Colby College Museum of Art announced today that it has appointed four new staff members to key roles in its senior leadership and curatorial teams.

Christian Adame (he/him) will join as Mirken Director for Learning and Engagement on May 13.A member of the museum’s senior leadership team, he will set strategy and guide pedagogy across all areas of academic and public education, K–12 and community engagement, interpretation and programming, artistic collaboration, and visitor experience, overseeing our full education team. Adame is an arts administrator and museum educator with twenty years of experience and a track record of leadership, management, and mentorship of staff, volunteers, and interns. Through object-based teaching, dynamic programming and interpretation, and a deep commitment to collaboration, he works to integrate and foreground communities within the institutional spaces of museums. Adame joins the Colby College Museum of Art after five years as Peggy L. Osher Director of Learning and Community Collaboration at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine where, among other significant accomplishments, he worked with curators and five community organizations to re-interpret the museum’s American art collection, resulting in the installation now on view, Passages in American Art. He has also been closely involved in the reinterpretation of Winslow Homer’s historic home and studio at Prouts Neck, Maine. Adame brings interdisciplinary teaching experience to the role, having long worked at the intersection of museum programming and creative aging as well as enacted collaborations with the medical sector with a focus on art and health. Prior to his role at the Portland Museum of Art, he worked at the California State Archives and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California and the Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona. He has received awards and fellowships from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, The Getty Leadership Institute, The Teaching Institute in Museum Education, and the American Alliance of Museums. He serves on the Board of several arts organizations and is a co-founder of the collective Cut + Paste. Adame earned his bachelor of arts in art history from the University of California, Davis.

Kiko Aebi (she/her) has been appointed Katz Curator and will formally begin her work on May 28.
An adept collaborator and innovative researcher, Aebi will bring her critical acumen and interpretive insights to this curatorial role. She will relocate to Waterville, Maine, from New York and the Museum of Modern Art, where she has held various positions in the Department of Drawings and Prints, most recently as curatorial associate. In this capacity, Aebi was part of the curatorial teams that organized ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN and Cézanne Drawing. She also supported the realization of the exhibitions Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde––From Signac to Matisse and Beyond and Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965–2016. Aebi holds a bachelor of arts from Amherst College and a master of arts from Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. She is an expert in modern and contemporary art and works on paper.

The Colby Museum currently holds more than 900 works by the artist Alex Katz, along with associated archival materials that make up the Alex Katz Collection. In addition, the museum owns approximately 500 artworks—ranging from folk art to American modernism and contemporary art—acquired as gifts from the Alex Katz Foundation, which was founded by the artist in 2004. The position of Katz Curator was established in 2014 to lead curatorial projects and research related to these unparalleled holdings, work that is undertaken in close dialogue with Alex Katz and his studio, the full Colby Museum curatorial team, as well as other museum colleagues and researchers. Diana Tuite served as the first curator in this role, stepping down in the fall of 2021. She was followed by Levi Prombaum, who will close out his work with the museum with the opening of Martha Diamond: Deep Time, which opens in July 2024.

Kendall DeBoer (she/her/they/them) became the Colby Museum’s Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art in late 2023. A brilliant thinker with expertise in craft, queer studies, and thematic and affective approaches to curatorial practice, DeBoer has pursued initiatives that generate new understandings in the field of modern and contemporary art. Prior to joining the Colby Museum, she held the position of Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In this role she curated Tender Loving Care: Contemporary Art from the Collection (with Michelle Millar Fisher); Digital Iridescence: Jell-O & Video Art; The Banner Project: Sheida Soleimani; and Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence (with Sarah Thompson). DeBoer holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Texas, Austin, and a master of arts from the University of Rochester, where she is also a doctoral candidate. At the Colby Museum, DeBoer is contributing to the museum’s work in modern and contemporary art, including collection and acquisition research, the development of new exhibitions, and gallery rotations. She is the curator of the forthcoming exhibition Alive & Kicking: Fantastic Installations by Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, Catalina Schliebener Muñoz, and Gladys Nilsson, which will be on view in the museum’s Joan Dignam Schmaltz Gallery of Art at the Paul J. Schupf Art Center in downtown Waterville from June 26–November 11, 2024.

Louise Kerr (she/her) joined the Colby Museum’s senior leadership team in the fall of 2023 as Director of Museum Administration and External Affairs.
In this new museum role, Kerr has been working with the museum’s senior team and its Board of Governors to advance strategic initiatives. She facilitates the work of the director’s office and its collaboration with governors; she also oversees budget planning, overall museum administration, and internal and external museum communications. With over twenty years of leadership in the arts and cultural field, she brings extensive experience in organizational expansion and relationship building, fundraising and development, financial management, human resources and public engagement. Past roles include serving as the executive director of Saratoga Arts Council in Saratoga Springs, where she worked collaboratively with multiple partners including the municipality, regional government, and the New York Council of the Arts to stabilize, expand, and completely overhaul the 35-year-old organization during and immediately after the Covid pandemic. As the Director of Visitor Operations and Engagement for Olana State Historic Site in the Hudson Valley, she worked daily with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and with international scholars and curators, and led a diverse staff of over 60, coordinating all facets related to engaging up to 145,000 visitors annually. As operations manager for Betty Cuningham Gallery in New York City, she developed a close relationship with the gallery’s founder and leader, working with represented estates and individual artists including Rackstraw Downes, Philip Pearlstein, William Bailey, Mia Westerlund Roosen, Judy Glantzman and more. Advancing her career in tandem as a working and exhibiting artist, she holds a master of arts in fine arts from the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture and a bachelor of arts in Architecture and Design from the Glasgow College of Building and Printing. This art experience uniquely positions and strengthens her understanding of the Colby Museum’s work.

“We are thrilled to welcome these four individuals to the Colby Museum,” said Jacqueline Terrassa, Carolyn Muzzy director, “Our ability to do impactful work relies on the excellence and dedication of our first-rate staff.”