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Nelson Atkins Director Juliàn Zugazagoitia


Steve Kraske welcomes Juliàn Zugazagoitia to talk about his new job and his plans to extend the Nelson Atkins's role in the community.

Kansas City, MO –


Juliàn Zugazagoitia's education and career as an art scholar and museum director have taken him a lot of places. From his birthplace in Mexico City, to his Ph.D. program in Paris, Zugazagoitia has picked up a lot of interesting stories along the way.

Last month, he started his new job as the fifth director of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. He has said the choice to leave his previous job in New York City was not particularly difficult, because he was drawn to the synergy between Kansas City's arts culture, university, and its business and scientific communities.

Steve Kraske welcomes Juliàn Zugazagoitia to talk about his new job and his plans to extend the Nelson Atkins's role in the community.

Additional Information:

Juliàn Zugazagoitia (pronounced HOO-lian SZU-ga-sa-GOY-tee-ah) holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Sorbonne Paris IV, with a focus on Aesthetics and Modernism in the arts. Born in Mexico and educated at the Sorbonne Paris IV in France, Juliàn speaks six languages and has worked in the Americas, Europe and Africa. On his visits to Kansas City, he has been struck by the vibrancy of the area, especially the synergy between the arts culture, the university, business and scientific communities, and the overall commitment to philanthropy.

For the past seven years, Juliàn has been the Director/CEO of El Museo del Barrio in New York, a leading institution in the field of Latin American and Latino art. He led the institution through a $44 million renovation project that resulted in new gallery spaces, a refurbished facility and a popular restaurant. Jim Luce with The Huffington Post wrote about the opening: "Last week on a cold, windy night, over 1,600 New Yorkers arrived to welcome the opening of the Museum. The place was so alive, so hot - so on fire." Juliàn is known for his high-energy leadership and his collaborations with other institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, the National Portrait Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Before leading El Museo, Juliàn worked at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York as Executive Assistant to the Director. As a consultant and curator, he also worked with UNESCO and the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles, organizing exhibitions, events and conferences internationally. He also curated exhibitions for the international art fair ARCO 2005, the 25th Sao Paulo Biennale in Brazil in 2002 and as Director of Visual Arts with the Spoleto Festival in Italy. Juliàn is married and has two children, ages six and 10.


Up To Date Arts & Culture
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.