Posted by Vickie Jacobs on Aug 20, 2020
Living artists and contemporary art is essential to the vitality and creative life of our town, region, and country. How do artists help us see and understand the world in a new way? What benefit do the arts bring to students, audiences, economies and other organizations? MOCA Tucson's Interim Director and Curator gives a brief overview of the Museum's mission, exhibitions and public programs, and maps how the arts contribute to a more vibrant public life. 
Laura Copelin ~ Biography
Laura Copelin is MOCA Tucson’s Interim Executive Director & Curator. She moved to Arizona last year from Texas, where she was Ballroom Marfa’s Executive Director & Curator. She was previously Assistant Curator at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, and received a dual degree in Art and English from UCLA. In Marfa she brought numerous exhibitions, new commissions, installations and publications to life in her five years with the art space including: the first US museum exhibition of seminal Brazilian sculptor Solange Pessoa; a group show featuring art commissions about the borderlands from Beatriz Cortez, Candice Lin, and Fernando Palma Rodriguez; the exhibition and catalogue Hyperobjects co-curated with ecological philosopher Timothy Morton; Tierra. Sangre. Oro. a show with Rafa Esparza featuring an immersive adobe brick installation; and six years of the global video art collaboration Artists’ Film International, with Whitechapel Gallery in London.
In 2018, Copelin realized a major outdoor installation for Ballroom called the stone circle by artist Haroon Mirza. The stone circle is a desert megalith powered by solar energy that activates a sound and light symphony on every full moon. She established a paid internship for local Marfa high school students to help with college and professional preparation, and pushed forward a new, bilingual website that will launch this month. In Texas in January 2021 she will mount an exhibition called, Blessings of the Mystery by artists and filmmakers Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas, which will travel to the University of Texas at Austin's Visual Art Center as well as to the El Paso Museum of Art.

In these first six months with MOCA, Copelin has helped the organization pivot public programs and educational offerings to a digital space in light of COVID-19. She has just mounted an outdoor installation with the artist and writer Jibade-Khalil Huffman, on view until the end of September. She is currently organizing the Museum's fall exhibition, which will feature new commissions from five Tucson-linked artists, titled Working from Home, which opens October 3 in MOCA's great hall.
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