Lauren Tate Baeza joined the High Museum of Art in November 2020 as the Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art. Baeza oversees the African art collection of more than one thousand objects, including extraordinary examples of masks and sculpture, exceptionally fine textiles, beadwork, metalwork, and ceramics. The collection’s holdings reflect the continent’s deep, rich history, as well as contemporary innovations.
An Atlanta native, Baeza is a curator and Africanist with a background in international aid organizations and museums. As a scholar, she has researched African political and economic phenomena through the lens of cultural geography, specifically examining the spatial history of food culture and artistic practices within the continent and across the Atlantic.
Prior to joining the High, Baeza served as director of exhibitions at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights from 2018 to 2020. During her tenure there, Baeza maintained the Center’s two ongoing installations in its American Civil Rights Movement and Global Human Rights Movement galleries and organized sixteen temporary exhibitions and installations, including Fragments, a collaboration with celebrated designer Paula Scher, featuring passages from Dr. King’s handwritten speeches and letters.
Concurrent with her position at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Baeza also curated the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, featuring approximately ten thousand items, and managed the James Allen and John Littlefield Collection. Previously, she served as executive director of the APEX Museum in Atlanta, which interprets, presents, and celebrates Black history.
In addition to her curatorial and museum work, Baeza led and consulted with environmental and community development initiatives in Kenya and Uganda. She has also lectured and taught seminars at the Nafasi Academy in Tanzania, the University of California, Los Angeles, Georgia State University, and California State University and published articles with ART PAPERS and the Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First). In 2018, Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine selected her as a “Women of Excellence.”
Baeza holds a Master of Arts in African studies from the University of California, Los Angeles; a Bachelor of Arts in Africana studies with a cultural studies concentration from California State University, Northridge; and a certification in curatorial studies from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
Watch Baeza’s CreativeMornings talk on the topic of “roots,” addressing her personal and professional connections to Martin Luther King, Jr. and the city of Atlanta (recorded January 2020).