About our NEW Executive Director, Joseph J Gonzales, PhD
Joseph J Gonzales is an impassioned arts professional with over twenty-five years experience in the museum field. As a leader, cultural strategist, audience-builder, and educator, he has leveraged research, information-driven decision making, and community engagement strategies to successfully bridge museums and arts programs with diverse audiences. In recognition of his leadership in connecting museums and communities, he was awarded a Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Fellowship to attend the Chaos at the Museum: Infiltrating the Urban Fabric, Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2016. The international program offered "participants practical tools and new formats to expand their creativity energizing museums, making them places of social gathering that infiltrate civic/urban space, and engaging them in a different dialogue with their environment, neighborhoods and community."
At University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Dr. Gonzales led the graduate Museum Communication program in Museum Studies where he transformed the curriculum to include a greater emphasis on integrated communication strategies and digital communication content solutions, preparing and mentoring students for important roles in today's museums. Additionally, he received a University Faculty and Academic Development Grant to research professional museum practice in China, visiting museums and cultural sites in Beijing, Xi'an, Anyang, and Changsha. The resulting contacts led to his development of the International Museum Studies Residency Program with the University's Continuing Studies Division which hosted three leaders from the Changsha Province Museum for a twelve-week intensive course on museum practice that included sessions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Franklin Institute, Longwood Gardens, Penn Museum, Princeton University Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Christie's New York, Harvard Art Museums, and the Smithsonian Freer | Sackler Galleries.
He served for two terms as the President of the Museum Council of Greater Philadelphia between 2010-2014, focusing on updating the organization structure, strategic plan, communication systems, and, growing membership and revenue.
From 2008-2011, he worked as the Manager of Research and Community Engagement Strategies for the Fleisher Art Memorial, where he led institution-wide efforts to reach new immigrant and low-income audiences in South Philadelphia as part of a multi-year Wallace Foundation Excellence Award project. An account of the work and his role in the process can be found in the Wallace Foundation's Staying Relevant in a Changing Neighborhood: How Fleisher Art Memorial is Adapting to Shifting Community Demographics.
His work and insights have been featured in additional Wallace Foundation Building Audience for the Arts publications (2014, 2015); UPenn Social Impact of the Arts' "Natural" Cultural Districts: A Three-City Study (2013); and, Fred Wherry's, The Philadelphia Barrio: The Arts, Branding, and Neighborhood Transformation (2011). He is on the Editorial Board for Curator: The Museum Journal, a contributor for the American Alliance of Museums' book, A Life In Museums: Managing Your Museum Career (2012), and has served as an advisor and curator for numerous exhibition, public art, and audience building projects with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, National Museum of African American History & Culture, Penn Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Print Center.