As the Vilcek Foundation curatorial fellow in contemporary art, Zahra Banyamerian is responsible for developing exhibition programs of contemporary art and coordinating projects in support of artists in the foundation’s extended network. In this role, Banyamerian works closely with President Rick Kinsel and with the foundation’s curator and the registrar and manager of collections, exhibitions, and facilities to explore new exhibition and programmatic ideas.
Born in Iran, Banyamerian immigrated to the United States in 2011. To her work with the Vilcek Foundation she brings a wealth of experience in fine arts administration and curatorial leadership. Prior to joining the foundation staff, Banyamerian was a senior program officer with the New York Foundation for the Arts, running NYFA’s Leadership Initiatives and Curatorial Affairs programs. In this role, Banyamerian developed incubator programs for leaders of color in the arts, strategizing, designing, and marketing professional development programs, workshops, and courses for arts administrators and arts professionals. While at NYFA, Banyamerian also facilitated the Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program, building networks of support for emerging and established immigrant artists in the greater New York area.
As a curator, Banyamerian has led the development of several exhibitions and installations for the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her exhibitions—including In a Different Light, Invincible Beings, and Memory Manifests—center and explore concepts of borders, movement, and migration.
Banyamerian completed her Master’s in Art History at the City College of New York; her thesis explored the intersecting roles of nostalgia, politics, and gender in artistic production in Iran.
In addition to Banyamerian’s work as a curator and arts administrator, she is trained as a painter and printmaker. Banyamerian earned her BFA in painting and an MA in art studies from the University of Tehran, and a post-baccalaureate degree in studio art from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.