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A. Cruz
Amada Cruz | Director and Chief Executive Officer

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Director and Chief Executive Officer

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) announced Amada Cruz as the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Director and Chief Executive Officer. 

Cruz comes to SBMA from the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) where she served as the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO since 2019. Over her 30-year career, Cruz has held posts as the Director of the Phoenix Art Museum; Executive Director at San Antonio-based Artpace, an artist residency program; Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies Museum at Bard College, where she co-organized the first US museum survey of Takashi Murakami’s work; and Acting Chief Curator and Manilow Curator of Exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Cruz has also worked as a grant maker and was the founding Program Director for United States Artists in Los Angeles, where she formed longstanding relationships with artists around the country and was responsible for all programming activities of a Ford and Rockefeller Foundations initiative. She also has been Executive Director of Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue in New York City, which awarded grants to visual artists in San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago. 

Cruz holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and political science from New York University. She received the 2018 Virginia Cardenas Arts Advocacy Award by Xico, an Arizona cultural institution serving Latinx and Indigenous artists. In 2015, W Magazine named her one of the 11 most powerful female museum directors in America.

Sarah James and Courtney Wilk-Mandel led this search with Evan Layne and Cara Meyers