Jen Mergel is a nationally respected contemporary art curator and cultural leader focused on experiential installations that reframe historic, cultural and spatial contexts. She has organized over 50 exhibitions in museum, academic and public spaces at Harvard, the Addison Gallery of American Art, the ICA Boston, the MFA Boston, and most recently for Boston’s Emerald Necklace Conservancy where she now serves as Senior Advisor, Cultural Partnerships. In this role, she builds the Conservancy’s capacity to invite more inclusive and impactful park experiences through partnerships with history-keepers, change-agents and thought-leaders in public-making through art, design and culture. She holds degrees with honors from Harvard University and Bard College, is a 2017 Fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership and a current fellow of the Culture of Health Leadership Institute for Racial Healing. Mergel’s latest curatorial work has focused on the Boston roots of the Combahee River Collective, Nicole Cherubini’s “4D Feminism,” Exquisite Corpse collaborations, and historic precedents to ideas of spatial justice through the 2022 Olmsted Bicentennial and the upcoming semiquincentennial of the United States. Her most recent interviews and artist texts are featured in the monograph on Joe Wardwell (2022), and Haus der Kunst’s retrospective catalogue on Fujiko Nakaya: Nebel Leben (2023).
For VoCA, Mergel has led artist interview workshops since 2019 and served on the Program Committee since 2020. Her prior board and advisory committee work has served international and local curators through organizations including: the Association of Art Museum Curators, the Museum of Fine Arts, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, and the Boston Center for the Arts. Her prior curatorial roles have been at the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, and for the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Mergel graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University, received her M.A. from Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies, is a 2017 Fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership, and continues her studies through the Racial Equity Institute. She is Founding Director of the Curatorial Network Accelerator of Boston. She is a firm believer in the power of dialogue to build learning, appreciation and shared community in the arts.Back to Leadership