Olivia Miller, director of the University of Arizona Museum of Art
Introduction by Lucas Benítez, farmworker, organizer and co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers
In this lecture, curator Olivia Miller will share her exhibition concept and curatorial process in organizing The Art of Food from the Collections of Jordan Schnitzer and His Family Foundation. The exhibition features more than 100 works from some of the most prominent artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, covering a variety of topics related to nourishment and foodways.
Lucas Benítez will deliver an introduction in which he will discuss the origins and creation of the CIW, a human rights organization founded to stand up for the farm workers of Immokalee. Benítez will also discuss the Fair Food Program and the way its ethical, worker-driven ethos has spread to various industries across the globe.
Olivia Miller is the director at the University of Arizona Museum of Art (UAMA) where she has worked since 2012, previously as the curator of exhibitions. Her recent accomplished exhibitions include Pulse: Paintings and Weavings by Marlowe Katoney, funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art; Restored: The Return of Woman-Ochre, which traces the incredible story of Willem de Kooning’s stolen and recovered painting; and The Art of Food: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation. Miller has contributed scholarship for exhibition catalogues and has presented her research at academic conferences including the College Art Association, the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries, and the National Conference of Cultural Property Protection. She earned her bachelor’s in art history and studio art from the University of Arizona and her master’s in art history from the University of Oregon. Olivia has more than fifteen years of experience working with arts nonprofit organizations and also has a passion for arts education, having taught at the University of Arizona’s Humanities Seminars Program, the Arizona State Prison Complex, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and Pima Community College.
Lucas Benítez, a co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and former farmworker, is a recipient of both the RFK Human Rights Award and 2014 Clinton Global Citizen Award for his pioneering work with the CIW.
In addition to his collaboration with buyers and growers in the Fair Food Program, Benítez has played a critical role in the investigation of several slavery cases, helping to free over 700 workers in one case alone. Currently, Mr. Benítez is one of the primary ambassadors of the U.S. and international expansion of the Fair Food Program in countries such as Chile, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.
On behalf of the Fair Food Program, Mr. Benítez accepted the 2015 Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts in Combating Human Trafficking at the White House and the 2016 James Beard Leadership Award, among many others. He has also received numerous international awards for his extensive work with the Mexican Consulate, including the “Ohtli” Award, the highest distinction conferred by the Mexican government to citizens living outside of the country, and the Distinguished Mexican Citizen Award from the Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior in 2019.
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