Director of Cinema Arts and Senior Curator
Liz Keim, Director of Cinema Arts and Senior Curator, initiated the Exploratorium’s Cinema Arts Program and film collection in 1982 and has since worked to integrate the visions of independent media artists into museum programming, public exhibition, and education. Under her direction, the Cinema Arts Program has expanded to include outdoor screenings, filmmaker residencies, installations, and workshops. She guest lectures, has served on many local film juries, participates in symposiums nationwide, and has curated cinema programs internationally. Liz studied with Edith Kramer, former director of the Pacific Film Archive, and Robert Frank, the noted photographer and cinematographer. She is published in Left in the Dark: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theaters, a collection of literary essays on the city’s thriving cinema culture. On occasion Liz co-teaches at the San Francisco Art Institute and the University of San Francisco and lectures at various campuses around the San Francisco Bay Area. Her film In the Red (co-directed by Karen Merchant) has screened internationally.
Senior Artist and Curator
Shawn Lani is a senior artist and curator of the Exploratorium’s Outdoor Gallery and other outdoor works. His Outdoor team is creating more than twenty-five site-specific installations and commissioning a wide range of artists to help enrich and enliven the museum’s new home at Pier 15. In addition to their work at the piers, the Outdoor team is actively developing and installing public works throughout the Bay Area. As principal investigator for the NSF-funded project Ciencia Publica, Shawn is leading the development of portable and public interactions in predominantly Latino neighborhoods, working in partnership with San Francisco city planners and advocates for urban improvements. Shawn has also created pieces for the NSF-funded Outdoor Exploratorium: Experiments in Noticing. The project team installed twenty outdoor pieces at Fort Mason, a unique urban national park in San Francisco. In addition, as a member of the NOAA/Exploratorium Vision Council, Shawn advocates for artworks that create intimate experiences with broad implications.
An active public artist, Shawn has participated in a number of national and international artist-in-residencies. His creations are installed in more than fifty museums worldwide, and he is the recipient of a National American Institute of Architects award for the monumental LIGO Wind Wall installation in Livingston, Louisiana.
Shawn has a BA in English/Creative Writing & Art History from the University of California at Davis, and an MA in Museum Studies (Design and Education) from John F. Kennedy University.
Director, Center for Art & Inquiry
Marina McDougall directs the new Center for Art & Inquiry, an R&D center for the arts within the larger learning laboratory of the Exploratorium. She also oversees our new Over the Water program. Marina was the first curator of art and design at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and co-founded the Studio for Urban Projects. She has been a visiting curator at the MIT Media Lab, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Oakland Museum of California. As a curator working at the intersection of art and science, nature and culture, Marina has twenty years' experience organizing exhibitions and public programs, and started her career as a curator in the Exploratorium Cinema Arts Program. She teaches as an adjunct professor in the graduate Curatorial Practice Program at California College of the Arts.
Senior Artist and Curator
Susan Schwartzenberg is a senior artist at the Exploratorium, where she leads the development of the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery. She has been a curator, photographer, designer, and artist, and served as director of media for the museum. She has participated in many exhibit development and Web-based projects. Susan was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute, the California College of Art, and Stanford University. As a photographer and visual artist, she has received numerous awards, and has taken part in residencies and exhibitions worldwide. She is known for her public art, including recent works at Stanford University and San Francisco’s McLaren Park.
Samuel Sharkey works in the Cinema Arts Program with Liz Keim, its founder and director. With her collaboration and guidance, Sam curates a variety of programs for the museum both inside the McBean Theatre as well as outside of traditional cinematic contexts on the museum floor and outdoors. His interest in film extends to its potential to engage audiences in thought, participation, and discussion. The sound and image may act as catalysts to other worlds or deeper investigations of our own. Sam’s passion extends outside of the Exploratorium’s walls to understanding and enacting the power of visual language and storytelling with audiences.
Senior Artist and Curator
Pamela Winfrey is a senior artist and curator for the West Gallery, an innovative space that explores human phenomena such as thinking, feeling, and social interactions. A member of the Exploratorium staff since 1979, Pam has held a variety of positions including Explainer, director of the performing arts program, and acting director for the arts. She also ran the Tactile Dome and started the Volunteer Program. Over the years, she has curated numerous performance series, exhibitions, artist residencies, and gallery installations.
Pam has served on many panels, including the Interactive Arts Panel for Ars Electronica, and, in 2009, she was the lead curatorial consultant for emerging art forms for Creative Capital. She is also a playwright and performer, specializing in writing absurd plays for a thinking audience. She is currently working with the New Musical Theater of San Francisco. Pam has a bachelor’s degree in theater and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary arts.
Nicole Minor is the manager of Moving Images, a group of media content creators at the Exploratorium. Moving Images produces videos, live webcasts, artist installations, podcasts, and other content for both the Exploratorium website and the museum floor, much of which you can see on explo.tv, our media portal. Nicole studied art and film at Hampshire College, and in her years at the Exploratorium has created both temporary artworks of her own and supported many artists-in-residence projects through curated programs and installations. Nicole has served on film juries for the San Francisco International Film Festival, participated on panels related to media and the web, and guest taught classes for local universities like the University of San Francisco and the San Francisco Art Institute. She has traveled widely for the museum, presenting programs, teaching workshops, and doing live production work, such as webcasting a total solar eclipse from the Gobi desert in China.
Kathleen is coordinator of the Cinema Arts Program. She came to the Exploratorium from the American Museum of Natural History, where she coordinated public programs, including large-scale planetarium performances with the Joshua Light Show and Radiolab, food lectures and tastings, and the museum’s annual Margaret Mead Film Festival. Maguire has a background in moving image preservation and has conducted archival projects with a variety of institutions such as the New York Public Library, Guggenheim, Anthology Film Archives, Filmmakers Cooperative, and the San Francisco Participatory Archives Group. She was also a post-graduate fellow with the American Museum of Natural History’s Special Collections Department.
Kirstin Bach is the administrative engine behind the Exploratorium's Center for Art & Inquiry. A former exhibition coordinator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, she helped bring about several large-scale exhibitions, including the 2002 Whitney Biennial. Previous to her work at the Whitney, Kirstin was Assistant Director of Administration at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art at the California College of the Arts. Most recently she served as Program Director for the Seed Fund, a foundation that supports creative work that enlivens the urban environment. Facilitating work at the crossroads of art and science and providing learning opportunities to the next generation of artists and scientists motivates Kirstin's work at the Exploratorium.