Indigenous art. Indigenous perspectives.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Hires Indigenous American Art Curator


The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Appoints Siera Hyte as the Inaugural Schiller Family Curator of Indigenous American Art

Hyte will manage the growth, interpretation, and stewardship of VMFA’s Indigenous American art collection
Siera Hye

Siera Hyte (Cherokee Nation) is the new Schiller Family Curator of Indigenous American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Photograph: Noemi Gleeson-Hyte (Cherokee Nation), 2024.

Richmond, Virginia — The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced today that Siera Hyte (Cherokee Nation) has been appointed as the museum’s inaugural Schiller Family Curator of Indigenous American Art. Hyte will begin working at VMFA on August 26, 2024.

“We are delighted to welcome Siera to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where she will be an incredible addition to our curatorial team,” said Director and CEO Alex Nyerges. “Siera will advance our commitment to Indigenous American art through important acquisitions, community engagement, exhibitions, publications, public programs, and research.”

Inaugural Curatorial Position

Hyte will be charged with the development, interpretation, and stewardship of VMFA’s Indigenous American art collection, which comprises nearly 1,000 works of art in an array of media, including beadwork, ceramics, paintings, photographs, sculpture, and textiles. She will also play a key role in the reinstallation of Indigenous American art in the James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing II, as part of the museum’s upcoming expansion and renovation project. Other duties include working with VMFA staff members and stakeholders on the museum’s annual Pocahontas Reframed film festival, as well as ensuring the museum’s continued compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

“Siera Hyte’s appointment as VMFA’s Schiller Family Curator of Indigenous American Art is both culturally relevant and timely,” said VMFA’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education Dr. Michael Taylor. “She is a dynamic curator whose commitment to new narratives and meaningful partnerships will strengthen our relationships with Indigenous artists and communities.”

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts McGlothlin Wing illuminated at sunset. Image courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (CC BY-SA 4.0).

VMFA has a longstanding commitment to Virginia’s Indigenous American communities. VMFA recently unveiled signage in the building and on our website acknowledging the presence of Indigenous peoples on the land where the museum stands. The Commonwealth of Virginia was one of the first points of contact between Indigenous peoples and English settlers.

“My curatorial approach foregrounds community-centered and community-led scholarship. This role is an incredible opportunity to collaborate with Indigenous artists, community members, and my new VMFA colleagues to re-present and grow the collection that the museum stewards, and to tell expansive stories that center Indigenous survivance and the profound creative traditions practiced by Indigenous artists,” said Hyte. “I was drawn to this position because of VMFA’s strong collection and its track record of exhibitions and programs that reframe and expand how we understand American art and American history.”

Hyte’s Previous Work

A curator, writer, and artist, Hyte holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Her curatorial, programmatic, and educational experiences have focused on 20th- and 21st-century Indigenous American artists, and she has a strong interest in pre-20th-century artwork. Throughout her career, she has worked to reconcile American legacies of colonialism and dispossession with the vibrancy of Indigenous art histories, cultural practices, and artistic futurities.

Hyte comes to VMFA from the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine, where she served as manager of programs and fellowships at the school’s Lunder Institute for American Art. While there, Hyte organized the transhistorical exhibition Painted: Our Bodies, Hearts, and Village, which examined how Pueblo artists and other Indigenous perspectives shaped the cultural landscape of Taos, New Mexico, and influenced an active group of Anglo-American painters called the Taos Society of Artists, from 1915 to 1927. In keeping with Hyte’s commitment to collaboration and foregrounding Indigenous voices, expertise, and lived experiences, the exhibition’s installation and interpretation were informed by a curatorial advisory council composed of Pueblo and Wabanaki artists and stakeholders. The exhibition’s designer, Virgil Ortiz (Cochiti Pueblo), is a ceramic sculptor and designer whose work is in VMFA’s collection.

Collaborating with colleagues across Colby College Museum of Art, Hyte also led efforts to develop fellowships for Wabanaki artists and culture bearers to incorporate multiple perspectives in permanent collection exhibitions, special exhibitions, public programs, and educational offerings for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Before working at the Lunder Institute for American Art, Hyte was the assistant curator of modern and contemporary art at Colby College Museum, where she also participated in a nine-month curatorial fellowship. Additional relevant experiences include her previous roles as a lecturer and teaching assistant at the University of Texas at Austin, as a public elementary school art teacher in San Diego, California, and as a museum educator at the Missoula Art Museum in Montana.


  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA | link
  • Siera Hyte | Instagram @sierahyte
  • Painted: Our Bodies, Hearts, and Village, Colby Museum of Art, on view through July 28, 2024 | link

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