Casandra Hernandez has been named ASU Art Museum's curator of Celebración Artística de las Américas, or CALA, Initiatives, according to a Monday, December 13, announcement from the Arizona Commission on the Arts.
Hernandez had worked at the Commission as artists program coordinator since September 2014. One of her most notable achievements was co-creating the AZ ArtWorker program, which connects artists in Arizona and beyond with communities. The program will continue under Hernandez's successor, Gabriela Muñoz. Before joining the Commission, Hernandez was the programs coordinator at ASU Deer Valley Rock Art Center, where she worked closely with Mary Stephens and ASU's Performance in the Borderlands to create events.
While she wasn't immediately available for comment, her former and new employers had plenty of good things to say about Hernandez.
“In the time she has worked with us, Casandra has been an extraordinary contributor to Arts Commission programs and has generously shared her expertise with Arizonans working in and alongside the arts and culture sector," Bob Booker, executive director of the Commission, says in the release. "We are sorry to lose her as a member of our team but feel certain she will lead CALA Initiatives at the ASU Art Museum with vision and skill, and we anticipate discovering many opportunities to work with Casandra in her new role.”
That newly created position is the result of a partnership between CALA and ASU's museum. Her role will involve developing programming and bolstering Phoenix's Latino and Latin American arts and culture through collaborations and international partnerships. ASU Art Museum director Gordon Knox says in the release that he and the museum staffers are thrilled, while CALA Alliance board member José Cárdenas called Hernandez's hiring "unquestionably the most important development in CALA’s evolution."
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Which sounds like a perfect fit for Hernandez, who gave some insight into her work during a 2014 interview with New Times . "I'm passionate about creating spaces where art and culture can help us become better thinkers, better lovers, better neighbors," Hernandez said at the time. "I also believe that, if we're serious about creating new political narratives for Arizona, we're going to need a cultural strategy to get us there. That's what I want to spend my time and energy thinking about."