Alice Gray Stites is Museum Director and Chief Curator of 21c Museum Hotels. A multi-venue museum located in Louisville, Cincinnati, Bentonville, Durham, Lexington, Oklahoma City, Nashville, and Kansas City, 21c was founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, collectors and preservationists who are committed to expanding the audience for contemporary art. Stitescurates exhibitions, site-specific installations, and a range of cultural programming at all 21c Museum Hotels. 21c also collaborates on arts initiatives with artists and other cultural organizations worldwide, including Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, North Carolina Museum of Art, Speed Art Museum, Barnes Foundation, Creative Capital Foundation, FotoFocus, Creative Time, and others. Since opening in Louisville in 2006, 21c has presented over 100 exhibitions. Recently, Stites has curated Hybridity: The New Frontier; Aftermath: Witnessing War, Countenancing Compassion; Seeing Now; Wild Card: The Art of Michael Combs; Dis-semblance: Projecting and Perceiving Identity; Albano Alfonso: Self-Portrait as Light; Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art; Labor&Materials, Fallen Fruit: The Practices of Everyday Life; The Future is Female; Truth or Dare: A Reality Show; The SuperNatura; Refuge, and others.
Prior to joining 21c as Chief Curator in 2012, Stites was director of artwithoutwalls, a non-profit, non-collecting public arts organization, and from 1995-2006 was adjunct curator of contemporary art at the Speed Art Museum. Stites has lectured at universities and conferences such as Art Basel Conversations, Leaders in Software and Art, TEDx Stockholm, Moving Image Spotlight, PULSE Perspectives, the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, NewInc at the New Museum, and has served on juries including ArtPrize, PULSE Prize, and Moving Image New York. She has been active on advisory boards at the University of Kentucky’s College of Design and at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas, and is an adjunct member of the fine arts faculty at the University of Louisville. Stites graduated magna cum laude from the University of Virginia, and holds an M.A. from Columbia University.
Interview note: For artists interested in getting involved, learn more here.