Sunday, July 16, 2023

Introducing WPA's New Director Travis Chamberlain

WPA's Board of Directors announced a few days ago the appointment of Travis Chamberlain as its next Director. Chamberlain—a curator and director with more than 20 years of experience in museum, non-profit, and for-profit contemporary arts spaces in New York City—will begin his new role on September 1, 2023, becoming the 12th Director of one of the most influential and impactful contemporary arts organizations in the region and the U.S. 

Travis Chamberlain

Now in its 48th year, WPA is a trailblazer among the region’s contemporary art institutions, with a dedicated project space, bookstore, and gallery. WPA's mission supports the development of experimental projects that build community through collaborations between artists and audiences, with an emphasis on dialogue and advocacy. Artists are invited to curate and organize all of WPA's programming as an extension of their own intellectual research, and their resulting projects may assume a variety of forms including exhibitions, publications, performances, workshops, symposia, community dinners, and more.

"We feel very fortunate to welcome Travis Chamberlain as the next Director of Washington Project for the Arts,” said Board of Directors Co-Chairs Ashley Givens, Ph.D. and Jocelyn Sigue. “His decades-long commitment to community organizing through art and his extensive experience as a curator, producer, and institutional leader working at a local, national, and international level will be a tremendous asset to WPA and the greater region.”

Chamberlain assumes the role as WPA’s principal executive leader after five years as Executive Director at Queer|Art, a community-based nonprofit with a mission to connect and empower generations of LGBTQ+ artists throughout the nation. Prior to this position, Chamberlain spent ten years as a curator of performance at the New Museum in New York City. 

“Washington Project for the Arts is an incubator for new art that is unrestrained by discipline and anchored by ideas that seek to inspire positive change in the world,” Chamberlain notes. “The fact that WPA is in DC, so close to the Capitol and all that comes with it, only makes the questions we ask and the answers we explore together all the more resonant for artists and communities everywhere. I am excited to join the staff and board in furthering their commitment to facilitating collaborations between audiences and artists. Through our work together, WPA will also become a catalyst for nurturing an exchange of ideas and resource sharing among creative communities on a more global level, with DC as the hub from which all WPA collaborations will flow.”

Chamberlain’s appointment follows an extensive national search supported by Claire Huschle of Good Insight. His arrival coincides with WPA’s 2023–2024 Season Kick-Off and BBQ on Saturday, September 9. The event will introduce the roster of 2023–2024 Artist-Organizers and the projects they will be producing through collaboration with WPA, invited artists, and local communities. All are welcome to attend!