Lorie Mertes.COURTESY LOCUST PROJECTS/PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLEN

Lorie Mertes.

COURTESY LOCUST PROJECTS/PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLEN

Miami non-profit exhibition space Locust Projects has named Lorie Mertes as its new executive director, the organization announced today. Mertes will be replacing Chana Budgazad Sheldon, who had been at the helm of Locus Project for eight years. Mertes begins her tenure in May. 

Most recently the director of public programs at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., Mertes has also held directorships at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation in Charlotte, North Carolina, and The Galleries at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. This spring will see her return to Miami, where from 1994 to 2006 she served as curator of the Miami Art Museum—which is now called the Pérez Art Museum Miami—and received the Dade Cultural Alliance’s 2006 Unsung Hero Award for her longtime dedication to the area’s cultural community. Over the course of her career, Mertes has curated over two hundred solo and group exhibitions of established and emerging artists, including Lorna Simpson, Vik Muniz, Alice Neel and James Rosenquist.  

“We’re thrilled to welcome Lorie back to Miami, and into this role,” board of directors chair Debra Scholl said in a press release. “Locust Projects has grown exponentially over the years, both in operations and in influence, so we’re excited to entrust the future success of the space to such a qualified figure in the arts.” 

Founded by three local artists in a warehouse in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, the organization has since become one of the city’s most significant art institutions, dedicated to providing contemporary artists with an exhibition space without the pressures of a traditional gallery. Locust Projects will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2018.