The Contemporary is a nomadic, non-collecting art museum in Baltimore, Maryland. Our mission expands the idea of a museum as an incubator that commissions site-specific and subject-oriented projects. We engage diverse audiences and advance contemporary art through projects and educational programming.

Our work is inspired by three guiding principles: artists matter, collaboration is key, and audience is everywhere.


In 1989, Baltimore curator George Ciscle founded The Contemporary in order to foster meaningful exchanges between artists, institutions, and diverse audiences. This nomadic institution quickly developed a reputation for delivering unexpected, challenging, and inspiring encounters with contemporary art by notable artists such as Willie Cole, Alison Saar, and Fred Wilson.

During its first decade, The Contemporary was “dedicated to redefining the concept of the museum.” It moved around the city of Baltimore, sponsoring exhibitions and projects in a variety of borrowed venues such as warehouses, car dealerships, and bus stations, as well as collaborating with partnering institutions such as the Baltimore Museum of Industry, Maryland Historical Society, Peabody Conservatory, and Walters Art Museum.

Because of the variety and ambition of its projects, programs, and operations, The Contemporary’s mission was continuously reviewed, adapted, and reinvented under various directors: Gary Sangster, Thom Collins, Irene Hofmann, and Sue Spaid. Thus the organization’s profile has continuously evolved in its 24-year history.

In 1999, The Contemporary rebranded as The Contemporary Museum and moved to 100 W. Centre Street, one block from the Walters Art Museum in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of downtown Baltimore. It organized exhibitions and related programming in that location for nearly ten years and worked with artists such as Dawoud Bey, Chris Burden, Dara Birnbaum, Louise Bourgeois, Futurefarmers, Ellen Gallagher, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Isaac Julien, Christian Marclay, and Soledad Salamé. In 2011, the museum moved out of the W. Centre Street space and returned to the process of facilitating projects in neighboring institutions and buildings.

At a critical juncture, and consistent with the belief that the mission should be subject to review, the Board of Trustees suspended operations in May of 2012. An intensive reassessment process followed, ultimately leading to the reinstatement of the institution’s original vision of redefining the museum and the creation of a bold new organizational model.

Today, The Contemporary expand's the idea of a museum into an incubator of inclusive spaces and operates as a generative resource for our city. The Contemporary brings museum caliber artists to Baltimore to develop responsive and risk taking site-specific projects. We offer resources, grant opportunities, and an artist retreat for local artists to develop their practice, and we produce educational programs for a broad public,ranging from middle schoolers to adults.


Ginevra Shay

Artistic Director

Ginevra Shay joined The Contemporary late 2013. She is an active independent curator, founder of the Current Space Community Darkroom and Photo Program, and an artist and curator in-residence at Gallery Four. The exhibitions and publications that shes produced have been nationally and internationally recognized. Ginevra has worked with a number of private collections and Baltimore institutions, including The Jewish Museum of Maryland and The Afro-American Newspaper to aid with research and assist with digital archiving processes. Ginevra received her BA from the University of Vermont. She recently participated in a three person exhibit with Jen Schwarting and Cooper Holoweski at Present Company in NYC. Other recent exhibitions include, a two person exhibition at Rock512Devil (Baltimore), The Finnish Museum of Photography (Finland), Notre Dame University (Maryland), John Hansard Gallery (United Kingdom), Galleri Vasli Souza (Sweden), and Flying Object (Mass). Her work and publications are in the libraries of Yale University Art Gallery Library, The International Center for Photography, Indie Photobook Library, Houston Center for Photography, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She was invited to be a “30 Creative Minds Under 30” by Maryland Art Place in 2013, and was selected to speak at the Society for Photographic Education National Conference in 2014. Ginevra is also on the board of Baltimore Youth Arts and the Bromo Arts District.

Lee Heinemann

Education Director

Lee Heinemann joined The Contemporary in 2015, following prior temporary employment and a year-long internship with the museum. In addition to his work with The Contemporary, Lee is an artist, educator and organizer. He is the initiator and lead facilitator of Get Your Life! Productions—a collaborative, youth-centered video production company in partnership with middle-school-aged artists at 901 Arts in the Waverly neighborhood. Lee has been developing and facilitating youth art programming at 901 Arts since moving to Baltimore in 2011. He is a 2015 graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art in Interdisciplinary Sculpture and a 2014-2015 France-Merrick Fellow in Community Art. He was a 2011 Presidential Scholar in the Arts and the recipient of the Theresa and Abraham Clapman Distinguished Sculpture Award in 2015.

Erica Goebel

Senior Associate

After a career in communications in Los Angeles, Erica moved to Baltimore and joined The Contemporary in 2015.  Highlights of her corporate life on the West Coast included: providing media relations during the groundbreaking and construction of LA’s rail system, producing award-winning industrial videos and films, initiating a civic public arts program, messaging technology updates for a 13,000-person utility company, and most recently, teaching high school English.  A second-generation native of LA and graduate of UCLA, Erica enjoys the portal to the arts and Baltimore that The Contemporary provides to its members and audiences.

Iris Lee, Jenne Porter, Shannon Wallace

Intern Team

Iris, Jenna, and Shannon are an integral part of our team! They very amazingly help us get everything done around the office, AND are currently producing the next volume of Scroll! They all have a love for arts and culture, and come from different backgrounds:

Iris Lee is a currently a junior at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She loves hanging out with strangers.

Jenna Porter is currently a student at University of Maryland, Baltimore County studying Media and Communication, and Gender and Women’s Studies. She was born on a full moon.

Shannon Wallace is an award winning photographer, writer, and freedom fighter from East Baltimore. Merging her journalism degree with her love for photography, Wallace is currently pursuing an MFA in Community Arts at MICA.

Curatorial Advisory Council.

Elissa Blount Moorhead

Elissa Blount Moorhead is a Brooklyn based Exhibition Designer, Curator and Lecturer. She has developed public art events, gallery based exhibitions, and education programs for the last 20 years. She created and taught the Cultural Pluralism course for Pratt Institute’s Graduate School of Art and Cultural Management (1999-2011), and currently teaches at Parsons Graduate School of Design @Cooper Hewitt. She co-founded Red Clay Arts in NYC where she curated/produced over 20 groundbreaking exhibitions and programs in NYC and London including; Random Occurrences - a multi- venue exhibition in conjunction with Project Diversity/ 2005; Cat Calls (Street Harassment project) at St Ann’s Warehouse and the NYC Museum/2001; and Practicum - the inaugural experimental series at BRIC/2002. She served as Director of RushKids, arts education program administered by Rush Arts Gallery (2001-2003). She lectures and publishes work internationally covering environmental design, history, and museology. As Weeksville Heritage Center’s Vice Director and Director of Design, Programming, and Exhibitions (2007- 2013), she developed the education, exhibition, and programming slate for WHC’s contemporary gallery, garden, and performance spaces. She also served as project director, for the construction of WHC’s 19,000 sq. ft. LEED Gold Cultural Arts Building. She is co-curator of the multisite public art project in partnership with the NYC based Creative Time, which is set to launch in Fall 2014. Elissa is co-founder of the art and social practice team, Tandem, which develops site-specific public art and design projects in several US cities.

Emily Blumenthal

Emily Blumenthal is the Senior Educator for Family, Teen, and Multigenerational Learning at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Prior to joining the Met, she served as the Head of Family and Community Programs at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, MD, where she also acted as the Co-chair for Countdown to Kindergarten, Baltimore City and held leadership roles on a number of statewide early childhood and arts initiatives. She has developed and implemented award-winning interpretive materials and programs to engage families and children of all ages with works of art, and frequently presents professional papers and research on family learning in museums at a national level. She has facilitated curatorial projects, led interpretation for numerous exhibitions, and guided large-scale digital learning and evaluation initiatives alike. Blumenthal serves as a Graduate Thesis Advisor for MICA’s MFA in Curatorial Practice program, where she has also taught as adjunct faculty and guest lecturer. She previously served as the Education and Public Programs Mentor for the MICA's Exhibition Development Seminar. Blumenthal received her Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art, her Masters of Science in Leadership in Museum Education from the Bank Street Graduate College of Education, and completed advanced graduate studies in Mind, Brain & Teaching at the Johns Hopkins University.

Thom Collins

Thom Collins, an arts administrator, art historian, educator and author with more than 15 years of experience in museum leadership, joined Miami Art Museum as director in 2010. Since taking his post, Collins has been the driving force behind the museum’s transition to its new Herzog & de Meuron-designed facility in Miami’s Museum Park, opening in 2013 as PÃrez Art Museum Miami. Guided by Collins’ vision, the Museum has strengthened its institutional mission with a renewed commitment to expanding its educational and public outreach as well as its permanent collection with works that capture artistic creativity across time, region, and discipline and have a special resonance in the Miami community. Prior to joining the Museum, Collins served as director of the Neuberger Museum of Art in Westchester County, New York, for five years. Collins has also previously served as director of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, 2003–2005, chief curator at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, 2000-2003, associate curator at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, Washington,1998-2000, and Newhall Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, 1994-1997. Collins earned his master’s degree from Northwestern University and his bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College. He currently holds memberships in the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Art Museum Curators, and the College Art Association.

Prem Krishnamurthy

Prem Krishnamurthy is a New York-based designer and curator. As a founding principal of award-winning design studio Project Projects, he has collaborated with clients including the Art Institute of Chicago, Bard Center for Curatorial Studies, Bozar Brussels, Guggenheim Museum, Harvard University, Istanbul Design Biennial, The Jewish Museum, M+ Museum (Hong Kong), MoMA, RISD Museum, SALT Istanbul, Vera List Center for Art & Politics, Whitney Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, and others. Project Projects is a two-time finalist for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s National Design Awards, the nation’s highest award for design. Prem is also the director/curator of P!, a multidisciplinary exhibition space and gallery in New York City’s Chinatown. Since opening in September 2012, P!’s exhibitions with Åbäke, Mel Bochner, Judith Barry, Katarina Burin, Heman Chong, Elaine Lustig Cohen, Leslie Hewitt, Karel Martens, Brian O‘Doherty, Sarah Oppenheimer, Amie Siegel, Société Réaliste, Philippe Van Snick, Kit Yi Wong, and others have been covered by publications such as Artforum, Frieze, Art in America, ArtReview, Design Observer, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. He has edited books including MATRIX / Berkeley: A Changing Exhibition of Contemporary Art (with Elizabeth Thomas) and Speculating on Change (with Vyjayanthi Rao and Carin Kuoni, forthcoming from Duke University Press in 2015). Prem is the Associate Editor of the art journal Paper Monument and serves on the Board of Directors of the online journal Triple Canopy. He is faculty at the Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies, where his focus is on the intersections of design and curatorial practice.

Rick Lowe

Rick Lowe lives in Houston. His exhibitions includes; Phoenix Art Museum, Contemporary arts Museum, Houston, Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles, Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York, Kwangji Bienale, Kwangji, Korea, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Glassell School,  Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Kumamoto State Museum, Kumamoto, Japan, Venice Architecture Bienale. Cittadellarte, Biella, Italy, Nasher Scuplture Center, Dallas, TX, Community building projects includes; Project Row Houses, Houston, Texas; Watts House Project, Los Angeles, CA; Arts Plan for Rem Koolhaus designed Seattle Public Library with Jessica Cusick; Borough Project for Spoleto Festival with Suzanne Lacy, Charleston, SC; Delray Beach Cultural Loop, Delray Beach, Florida, a project for the Seattle Art Museum in their new Olympic Sculpture Park with David Adjaye. Among Rick’s honors are; Rudy Bruner Awards in Urban Excellence; AIA Keystone Award, the Heinz Award in the arts and humanities; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Governors Award; Loeb Fellow at Harvard University; Skandalaris Award for Excellence in Art Architecture, USA Artists Booth Fellow, and the Creative Time Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change. In 2013, Rick Lowe was appointed by the Obama Administration to serve on the National Council of the Arts.

Shamim M. Momin

Shamim M. Momin is the Director, Curator, and co-founder of LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division), a non-profit public art organization committed to curating site- and situation-specific contemporary art projects, in Los Angeles and beyond. LAND was founded in 2009 and has since presented over fifty discreet exhibitions and programs with contemporary artists. Momin’s most recent projects include Painting in Place (2013), a group exhibition of contemporary painting presented in the historic Farmers and Merchants Bank in Downtown Los Angeles; Perpetual Conceptual: Echoes of Eugenia Butler (2012), an exhibition about Eugenia Butler Gallery as part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980; and Nothing Beside Remains (2011-2012), a multi-site, multi-artist exhibition in Marfa, TX. LAND recently published a monograph on artist Sarah Cain in which Momin contributed an essay on the artist’s work. Previous to founding LAND, Momin was Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art where she co-curated both the 2008 and 2004 Whitney Biennial exhibitions, as well as numerous solo exhibitions. As Branch Director and Curator of the former Whitney Museum at Altria, she was responsible for organizing exhibitions and commissioning more than fifty new projects by emerging artists for both solo and thematic presentations.

Emeritus: Tom Finkelpearl


Jessica Lanzillotti


Jessica Lanzillotti, a South Dakota native, holds the position of Treasurer of Single Carrot Theatre’s Board of Directors and works as the General Manager at Everyman Theatre. Jessica graduated valedictorian of the Towson University Business School in 2002, has interned at Arthur Andersen, LLP, and worked up to a senior accountant at Chernoff & Richards, P.A. She left to form her own accounting company in 2005 and immediately took on Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre as one of her clients. After working contractually for a few years, Jessica joined the Everyman team full time, first as Business Manager and then as General Manager beginning in July of 2012. Jessica does not have any artistic experience, generally preferring to work "behind the scenes," but she attends shows regularly and loves the creative environment.

Debra Rubino

Vice President

Since July 2015, Debra Rubino has served as the vice president of strategic communications at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). From 2006–2015, she served as the director of strategic communications at the Open Society Institute-Baltimore, a field office of the international network of the Open Society Foundations. Prior to that position, she was vice president for communications at Goucher College from 1998 to January 2006. When she first arrived in Baltimore in 1988 and through1996, she first served as director of institutional communications at MICA, and then from 1996 to 1998, as associate vice president. At MICA, she was one of six individuals to launch the Baltimore Collegetown Network, a consortium of 15 institutions from the region, and later served as its governing board’s president for five years. She is a member of the board of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and on The Contemporary Museum in Baltimore. She was one of the founding members of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, where she served on the Board for eight years. She served as the board president for Art on Purpose until it shut its doors in 2012. She is also an active professional artist—a photographer and printmaker. She holds a BA degree from Franklin and Marshall College and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Doug Bothner

Doug Bothner is a Senior Associate at Ziger/Snead Architects in Baltimore, Maryland. His work has won numerous design awards from the Baltimore and Maryland chapters of the American Institute of Architects, and has been published in Dwell, Wallpaper* Online, IDFX, Baltimore Style, Home & Design, and VIEW Magazines. Doug is active in the Baltimore community. He has been adjunct faculty at the Maryland Institute of College of Art and a visiting critic at the University of Maryland School of Architecture, the School of Architecture and Planning at The Catholic University, and Morgan State University School of Architecture. As an avid cyclist, he served as a Juror for the Station North Arts & Entertainment Bike Rack Competition. He holds a Master of Architecture from the Yale University School of Architecture where he was awarded The Drawing Prize in 1996, and he graduated with Honors in Painting from Wesleyan University.

Tamar Cloyd

Tamar Cloyd is a fundraising and communications consultant with The Cloyd Group, LLC. She has over 10 years’ experience working in the nonprofit sector, including fundraising, program management, communications (online and print), and direct service delivery. In her spare time, Tamar volunteers as a reader for the Metropolitan Washington Ear in Silver Spring, MD. She has also volunteered as a grant reviewer with the DC Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation and D.C.’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education. A native of Chicago, IL, Tamar holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in community social psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. She resides in Columbia, MD with her husband and three sons.

Lionel Foster

Lionel Foster is an East Baltimore native and a Communications Manager at the Urban Institute, a social policy research center in Washington, D.C. A former columnist with "The Baltimore Sun," Lionel has experience relaying a range of policy issues to diverse urban communities. In addition to the “Sun,” his writings on topics including race, education, economic development, and criminal justice have appeared in the "The Chicago Tribune," "The Chronicle of Philanthropy," and "The Los Angeles Times." A graduate of Johns Hopkins University’s Writing Seminars program, he also holds master's degrees in Social Policy and Planning and Regional and Urban Planning Studies from the London School of Economics as well as an MA in Creative and Life Writing (Goldsmiths College, University of London), earned during his tenure as a British Marshall Scholar. In 2011, he was named a "Maryland Daily Record" VIP.

Sarva Girdhar

Sarva Girdhar, M.D. is a board certified surgeon, in practice since 1977, specializing in general surgery, wound care, and veins. His office and practice are located in Westminster, MD. Born and raised in India, Sarva completed his medical studies at the University of Gauhati and the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research before immigrating to the United States in 1971. From 1971-1977, Sarva completed medical residences and fellowships in Baltimore, Dallas, St. Louis as well as Altoona, PA. Sarva is very interested in contemporary art, specifically installation and site-specific works. He is an avid contemporary art collector focusing predominately on Indian and South Asian artists. He lives in Pikesville with his wife Veena.

Joanna Golden

Joanna Golden is the Creative Director of Pie in the Sky, a pie baking company located in Aspen, CO. She splits her time between Aspen and Baltimore, where she was born and raised. She attended the Park School of Baltimore and then went on to receive her BFA in Costume Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. Joanna worked in the costume design industry for many years before starting her family of two children. She has been an active member of the The Walters Art Museum Women's Committee since 2000 and is also a member of the Board of Trustees for The Maryland Zoo.

Yu-Jean Lee

Joyce Yu-Jean Lee is an artist who works primarily in video installation, drawing, and photography. She hails from Dallas, TX and has a M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Joyce has participated in various supported artist residencies, and has exhibited on the east coast and various international locations including Italy, Germany, and Taiwan. She is the recipient of a 2013 Franklin Furnace Fund Grant; a 2013 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award; and a 2010 So Hamiltonian Fellowship. The Washington Post included her Passages exhibition in their “Top 10 Best Art Gallery Shows” in Washington D.C. in 2012. Joyce currently teaches part-time at MICA and The Corcoran College of Art + Design, and can be found cruising around Charm City on her trusty bicycle.

Jason Lowy

Jason Lowy is Vice President – Wealth Management at UBS Financial Services and partner of The Murray Group. He holds the designations of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Accredited Investment Fiduciary designee, Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist and Wealth Advisor. Jason started his career in 2004 when he joined the Murray Group at Legg Mason in downtown Baltimore. His main focus is helping business owners and retirees manage their retirement income needs and achieve their financial dreams. He graduated from Western Maryland/McDaniel college, where he holds a dual major in Philosophy and Human Behavior in Organizations. Jason is an actively involved in Best Buddies, National Collegiate Cancer Foundation and Junior Achievement of Central Maryland.

Bodil Ottesen

Bodil Ottesen is an art historian and educator. She is a lecturer and adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland, Goucher College, Towson University, Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Institute College of Art, Stevenson University, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Bodil has taught a range of art discourses including Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Modern, and Contemporary Art. Her writing and research has been including in numerous arts publications. Bodil received her PhD from the University of Maryland in 1987 and wrote her dissertation on The Development of Dedication Imagery in Romanesque Manuscripts. She also earned an M.A. from the University of Maryland and a B.A. from Goucher College. Bodil holds membership in the College of Art Association America and The National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Karen Stults

Karen Stults is the Director of Community Engagement at Maryland Institute College of Art and brings over twenty years of nonprofit management and program development experience to her commitment to the arts. Ms. Stults holds a M.Ed. in Policy Development and Program Evaluation from Vanderbilt University, a BA in Business and Communications from Mercer University, a certificate in Ceramics and Sculpture from the Corcoran College of Art + Design, and a certificate in Museum Exhibition Planning and Design from Georgetown University. Previous employers include the Center for Community Change, YouthAction, Inc., and McAuley Institute in Washington, DC. She is an alumna of the Windcall Residency Program for social change activists and serves on the board of Fluid Movement. Her work at MICA and in Baltimore is rooted in the belief that individual artists and arts organizations play a vital role in energizing and transforming communities.

Rita Walters

Since February 2015, Rita has served as Vice President for Advancement at MICA. Over her career, Walters has helped to secure millions of dollars for education and nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining MICA, Walters served as chief development officer for Washington National Cathedral, where she has worked to increase the endowment, more consistently and closely engaged donors, and developed new fundraising initiatives. Prior to the Cathedral she was a senior associate director of development for Johns Hopkins University Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, director of development for the Baltimore Presbytery, and annual fund officer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Maryland. She also spent 14 years in finance working both in New York City for AMEX as a senior accountant; and in NJ for Willingboro Board of Education, a $50 million dollar school district where she served as an accountant. Walters has been deeply engaged in the community, and in addition to the Contemporary, also serves on the Leadership Council for Convergence Center for Policy Resolution in Washington, DC. She earned a master’s degree in liberal arts and a graduate certificate in nonprofit studies at the Institute for Policy Studies Center for Civil Society Studies from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She resides in Baltimore City with her husband. They have two college-aged sons and one unruly dog-named Barry Allen.

Portia Wood

Portia Wood is a practicing trial attorney in Baltimore City. She received her Juris Doctor from the recently renamed University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in 2011. Portia is a California native with deep Baltimore roots. She studied public relations as an undergraduate, and uses those skills to bring people together with an impetus for social change. Over the past few years, in addition to her legal work, she participates in the Young Professionals Group of Open Society Institute-Baltimore. Portia also volunteered with Hockey in the Hood, a non-profit bringing sports and mentorship to Baltimore’s Patterson Park neighborhood, as well as, United Sisters Mentoring program. While not an artist herself, she has spent many years collecting and promoting the works of underground artists around the country, including but not limited to collaborating with Steady Baltimore Artist Collective on exhibitions of Graffiti Art in Baltimore Galleries. Portia resides in the Homeland neighborhood.

Robin Zimelman

Robin Zimelman has been an active collector of contemporary art for more than ten years, focusing on emerging U.S and British artists, and including painting, sculpture, photography and video. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Maryland School for the Blind, where she previously has served as President of the Parent Advisory Council. A graduate of the University of Maryland College Park and of Boston University School of Law, Robin was a tax attorney at Venable LLP for fifteen years. In addition, she is a CPA. Robin has lived in Baltimore for over twenty-five years with her husband, Larry Eisenstein, and has three children.