New Beginnings

The Houston Museum of African-American Culture Names Its New Chief Curator

Starting September 1, Christopher Blay will take on the new role.

By Jaisal Kalapatapu July 30, 2021

Image: Tina Blay

houston's diverse art scene has something for everyone 一 with museums and exhibits across the city dedicated to history, art, and heritage.

With the city's art scene back on the ground museums are coming back strong post-pandemic. Most recently, The Houston Museum of African-American Culture (HMAAC) named Christopher Blay as its next Chief Curator. Starting Sep. 1. Blay will come to HMAAC after working as the news editor and art critic for Glasstire Magazine, the oldest online-only art publication in the U.S. 

"Christopher Blay was the first, best, and most exciting choice to emerge from our selection process," said Michelle Barnes, a member of the search committee and the Co-Founder and CEO of Community Artists’ Collective in Houston. "His skills and varied experiences will find a welcoming home at HMAAC and will enhance our cultural community beyond measure."

The search committee to fill the Chief Curator role was comprised of Barnes, writer and curator Lise Rigbar, and interdisciplinary artist and Art League Houston’s 2021 Artist of the year, Vicki Meek. The HMAAC Board of Directors intentionally selected three African American women to search for the right candidate. 

"The HMAAC Board of Directors took a different path than the status quo when they decided to forego a search firm and instead hire three seasoned African American women arts administrators to conduct the search for their inaugural Chief Curator position," Meek said. "[Christopher’s] prior curatorial experiences coupled with his strong art criticism background assures that the museum has a person who both knows the world of artists from the African Diaspora as well as the local Houston area."

Over his career, Blay has helped create many projects, such as a two-year-long community project titled The Ark on Noah Street in Dallas in 2014. Among the many awards he has received is the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Tarrant County College in 2014 and a Mastermind Award from the Dallas Observer in 2015. 

"I am very humbled to be welcomed into this venerable institute that plays such an important role in the local and national community," Blay said in a press release. "My passion is working with artists and their big ideas, and nothing is more fulfilling than playing a small role as curator to bring these big ideas to the public."

Although Blay won't step into the new leadership role at HMAAC until September, the museum, alongside Ava DuVernay, has just debuted their latest installation, Blue Is The Color We See Before We Die.

The Houston Museum of African-American Culture is located at 4807 Caroline Street. For more information, visit,

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