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OnlineMar 26, 2024

Boston Art Review Appoints First Executive Director

Founder Jameson Johnson has transitioned from running the organization as a volunteer and stepped into her executive director role thanks largely to a generous multi-year grant from the Wagner Foundation.

Jameson Johnson, a light-skinned woman with bangs and hair tied into a pony tail, sits at a table with her elbow rested atop a stack of magazines, smiling at the camera.

Jameson Johnson is Boston Art Review's first executive director. Photo by Bountheng Tanakhone.

Boston Art Review (BAR), an organization committed to facilitating discourse on contemporary art in Boston and beyond, is pleased to announce the appointment of Executive Director Jameson Johnson, a writer, curator, and community organizer. Johnson founded Boston Art Review in 2017 and served as a volunteer editor in chief for six years. She has been committed to securing a long-term sustainable future for the publication and led the organization through the process of becoming a 501(c)3 with an inaugural board of directors composed of artists, writers, scholars, and community leaders in 2022. In January of 2024, Johnson transitioned from running the organization as a volunteer and stepped into her executive director role thanks largely to a generous multi-year grant from the Wagner Foundation. As several regional arts publications around the US have been forced to close their doors, Johnson is committed to producing a print and online magazine that provides an essential platform for writers, artists, and art spaces.

“Jameson has shown perseverance and integrity in her role as the founder and editor in chief of Boston Art Review,” said Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture Director of Public Art Karin Goodfellow. “It’s been a real pleasure to watch her develop as a leader and renew her commitment to Boston. Her new role as executive director makes me hopeful.”

Boston Art Review was conceived when Johnson was a first-generation college student at Northeastern University. Over the years, BAR has been supported by community members and art enthusiasts who rallied alongside Johnson to fill a gap in Boston’s media landscape. With limited resources and a dedicated cohort of volunteer editors, BAR’s team worked diligently to evolve the publication into an organization that supports New England’s arts ecosystem in multiple ways. In the organization’s first six years, Boston Art Review produced twelve print publications, managed Boston’s only weekly curated arts calendar, published hundreds of stories online, hosted a wide range of community events, and launched a program dedicated to mentoring young writers.

BAR has solidified its role as a vital resource for local art workers and community organizers while engaging directly with art world luminaries such as Jeffrey Gibson, Cecilia Vicuña, Lyle Ashton Harris, Sheida Soleimani, Tammy Nguyen, and many more through original interviews, profiles, and artist projects. Illustrating the often overlooked connection between Boston’s art community and the art world at large, these stories are balanced with equally insightful features on artists—from recent graduates to emerging professionals to established creators—who live and work in New England and contribute to the region’s vibrancy.

“I wanted to create something that could lower the barrier to entry, celebrate diverse voices, and unite all pockets of our community around arts and culture,” said Boston Art Review founder and executive director Jameson Johnson. “I am thrilled that a path toward sustaining this work is finally on the horizon as I step into a full-time executive director role. I’m so grateful for the support, mentorship, and trust that has gotten me here, and I’m invigorated by what we have planned for the future.”

BAR aims to foster cross-regional discourse to connect the area’s unique blend of institutions and individuals and propel New England’s arts ecosystem into a larger, national context. BAR seeks to elevate and give voice to people, perspectives, and subcultures that have been historically underrepresented or systemically overlooked.

Boston Art Review featured me in Issue 04, highlighting public art. It was very exciting to be featured on the pages of BAR amongst fellow artists that I admire and respect,” said artist Sneha Shrestha, aka IMAGINE. “Over the years, BAR has consistently done an amazing job of covering artists and supporting our work.”

After completing a major strategic plan with Oakley Collective in 2023, Boston Art Reviewis focused on financial sustainability, audience expansion, and continuing to serve more writers, artists, and community spaces.

“We are thrilled that Boston Art Review has achieved this critical milestone. Jameson’s leadership has quickly made BAR a significant resource for cultural criticism in Boston,” said Boston Center for the Arts Co-Executive Director Emily Foster Day. “We are proud to have her and the BAR team as members of our community at Boston Center for the Arts. We look forward to supporting BAR as a key partner in our own work to make Boston a place where artists can thrive.” For images and interview requests, please contact: Nakia Hill, Board Member, editorial@bostonartreview.com.

About Boston Art Review

Boston Art Review is a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization that facilitates contemporary arts discourse through publishing, programming, and events in Boston and beyond. We elevate diverse perspectives while bridging gaps between criticism, coverage, and community engagement.

Boston Art Review Board of Directors

Camilo Alvarez, Robin Hauck (secretary), Nakia Hill, Courtney Jacobovits (treasurer), Beau Kenyon (co-chair), Kristi O’Connor, Danny Rivera, Mallory Ruymann (co-chair), Gabriel Sosa, and Gloria Sutton

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