Director of Civic Art + DesignSara Kellner
Sara Kellner is an art professional with over 25 years of experience. A native of Buffalo, New York and Houston resident since 1999, Kellner originally moved to Houston to lead DiverseWorks Artspace as Executive Director. Prior to the post she served as Visual Arts Director for Buffalo’s Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, an alternative space co-founded by artists such as Cindy Sherman and Robert Longo. She has curated and co-curated over 80 exhibitions, many of which traveled nationally, including William Pope.L:eracism, Cecilia Vicuna’s solo exhibition cloud-net, and Contemporary Erotic Drawing.
Kellner has served Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), the city’s designated local arts agency, as Director of Civic Art + Design since 2015. There she supervises the department’s administration of the City of Houston’s Civic Art Program by way of permanent commissions, temporary art projects, and conservation of the City of Houston Art Collection. Recent projects include two major commissions, for Houston First Corporation, at the George R. Brown Convention Center: Ed Wilson’s Soaring in the Clouds and Wings Over Water by Joe O’Connell and Creative Machines. She also worked with Southwest Airlines and the Houston Airport System to develop seven commissioned works—as well as the acquisition of several pieces by Houston-area artists—for William P. Hobby Airport.
Prior to HAA, between 2006 and 2015, Kellner ran a successful fundraising and public art project development consultancy in service of Houston-area artists and organizations. She managed the Art in Transit program for METRO’s Houston Light Rail Expansion and worked with 22 artists and artist teams to develop works of station-integrated art. Kellner additionally procured a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to develop a long-term conservation plan for The Orange Show, a national historic site in Houston.
Kellner served as the Board President of the National Association of Artists Organizations (NAAO), during the NEA Four Supreme Court trial, at the height of the culture wars. She participated in the first year of The Co-Generate, a series of national Rockefeller Foundation-sponsored meetings, to foster the leadership of artists and arts professionals under the age of 30. Kellner currently serves as an advisory board member for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Film Department; an ex officio board member of the Houston Arts Foundation; and a member of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership Public Art Committee. She participated in the Getty Leadership Institute, National Arts Marketing Project advanced training, and has served on such funding panels as National Endowment for the Arts and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.
Kellner holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Civic Art + Design Collection Coordinator
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Civic Art + Design Project Manager
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