Laurie Cumbo Announces Departure From MoCADA Prepares To Run For City Council


James Bartlett will assume the position of MoCADA's new Executive Director

By C. Zawadi Morris  Email the author

October 4, 2012

Laurie Cumbo, the founder of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, announced on Wednesday that she will be stepping down from her current post as MoCADA's executive director to run for New York City Council.

Cumbo seeks the seat of outgoing council member Letitia James, who is running for Public Advocate and who currently represents the 35th City Council District, covering the communities of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and parts of Bedford Stuyvesant. 

"I founded MoCADA to satisfy my passion to create social, political and economic change through the arts," said Cumbo in her public announcement. "I have you to thank for believing in this vision and your continued support has taken this institution to unfathomable heights! It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I announce to you that I will begin the next chapter of my life."

Cumbo founded MoCADA in 1999. Since that time, the museum has been home to more than 100 exhibitions, over 500 public programs, 13 years of hosting the Annual KIDflix Film Fest in Bed-Stuy.


The museum also has been the destination for thousands of school tours and after-school art programs for children in underserved communities, as well as the Soul of Brooklyn arts and business partnership.

It has served as the “Town Hall” meeting place, bringing together thousands of Brooklyn residents to discuss a variety of important issues, including the rebuilding of Haiti, the war in Iraq, gentrification, gun violence and women’s reproductive rights, amongst other issues. Most importantly, MoCADA has become the institution for emerging Museum professionals who are eager to have a voice and make

"When I began MoCADA twelve years ago, it was just me," said Cumbo. "Now, the staff has grown to six full-time, outstanding Museum professionals and two Curatorial Fellows who will continue the work of MoCADA as I pass the baton."

James Bartlett will assume the position of MoCADA's Executive Director, effective October 1. However, Cumbo will continue consulting with the museum through January 2013, MoCADA until January 2013 to assist in the transition.

"[Bartlett] has worked successfully with the organization over the last three years expanding our community programs, creating international partnerships and securing new sources of revenue for the institution," said Cumbo. "MoCADA is looking forward to an amazing future under Mr. Bartlett’s leadership."

Cumbo said her decision to run for city council has been her greatest calling ever—one too powerful for her to ignore:

"I look forward to beginning this journey to reinvent and create a more equitable and sustainable community that will preserve our greatest asset, which is our diversity."

Published Oct 4, 2012:

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