Best Museum Curator - 2012
Jorge Hilker Santis
It's worth remembering, as Jorge Hilker Santis edges closer to retirement after 20-plus years at the Museum of Art|Fort Lauderdale, that often the people with the most impact are the ones who keep a low profile. As the museum's unassuming but rigorous curator and head of collection research, the Cuban-born Santis has maintained strong ties to his cultural heritage. He was the guiding force behind the museum's landmark Cuban shows, 1997's "Breaking Barriers" and 2008's "Unbroken Ties." His expertise has been critical to the institution's continuing accumulation of a world-class and heavily Cuban collection of Latin American art. The Cuban and Latin American connections are not surprising, but the versatile Santis also presides over the museum's formidable William Glackens Collection and Archives, which has its own wing and includes more than 500 works by the influential American artist and his contemporaries. Santis regularly raids that collection for in-house exhibitions that are invariably crowd pleasers. He'll leave large shoes to fill, along with a rich legacy.