New Role Builds on Experience as Mellon Foundation Assistant Curator

Photo by Daniel White.

Maya Brooks has been selected as the new Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, serving both the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) in Raleigh, NC and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem, NC, an affiliate of NCMA. The new position, which started on June 2, builds on the past two years of Brooks' experience as the Mellon Foundation Assistant Curator at NCMA.

"I'm most excited that this role will allow me to extend the work I've been doing in the Triangle area across our state to Winston-Salem," said Brooks, reflecting on her new role. "I want to use this opportunity to further engage our public and provide meaningful experiences to our visitors. I want my work at both campuses to say, 'This is a place for you, too. You belong here. We all belong here.' "

Maya Brooks brings a fresh and innovative perspective to two storied cultural institutions. She is tasked with embracing a cross-disciplinary approach that celebrates and engages voices across cultures, lived experiences, and narratives while collaborating with internal teams in Raleigh and Winston-Salem.

"While at the NCMA, Maya has curated shows of works from the collection and special exhibitions that feature photography, video, sculpture, and painting by North Carolina, national, and international artists. She has created multi-media sensory projects that offer visitors a chance to examine our past, present, and shared futures," said NCMA Director Valerie Hillings. "This dual curatorial position demonstrates our shared commitment with SECCA to serve North Carolinians across our state with powerful art experiences."

Brooks' responsibilities include researching and presenting revelatory contemporary exhibitions to activate the expansive gallery spaces and verdant grounds of NCMA and SECCA. This work is foundational in positioning the museums as national leaders in creating a welcoming experience of belonging and joy through 20th century and contemporary art collections, exhibitions, and programs.

"Maya's curatorial vision, collaborative spirit, and innovative thinking match this moment in our country's and state's histories," said SECCA Executive Director William Carpenter. "Her work invites people to see their own experiences reflected in contemporary art, to open themselves to different perspectives, and to engage each other in meaningful conversations."

During her tenure as Mellon Foundation Assistant Curator, Maya Brooks served as lead curator for a number of NCMA exhibitions including To Be Young: Coming of Age in the Contemporary, NC Artist Connections: The Beautiful Project, Stephen Hayes, and H?ng-Ân Truong, and The Altered Environment, and played an assisting role in Fault Lines: Art and the Environment, currently on view through July 17. Brooks received her BA in Anthropology with an Art History minor at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2018 before completing her Master of Arts in History at UNC-Greensboro in 2020.

"Our state and our people have such a complex history and understanding of the world that deserves to be shared. So many contributions to fashion, music, scholarship, and the visual arts came from right here," said Brooks. "What I've noticed most, too, is that North Carolinian art shows growth. Artists here can take traditional mediums, reframe them, and put their narrative onto them. It's imaginative and innovative."

Meet-and-Greet with Maya Brooks will be held at the historic Hanes House at SECCA on Thursday, June 30 from 5–8pm. The event is free and open to the public, with dinner available for purchase from chef Jordan Rainbolt of Native Root.

For questions and inquiries, please contact SECCA Marketing Director Philip Pledger ( or NCMA Director of Marketing and Communications Karlie Marlow (

The North Carolina Museum of Art's collection spans more than 5,000 years, from antiquity to the present, making the institution one of the premier art museums in the South. The Museum's collection provides educational, aesthetic, intellectual, and cultural experiences for the citizens of North Carolina and beyond. The 164-acre Museum Park showcases the connection between art and nature through site-specific works of environmental art. The Museum offers changing special exhibitions, classes, lectures, family activities, films, and concerts.

The Museum is located at 2110 Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh and is home to the People's Collection. It is the art museum of the State of North Carolina, under the auspices of Governor Roy Cooper; an agency of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, guided by the direction of Secretary D. Reid Wilson; and led by Director Valerie Hillings. Learn more at

The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), an affiliate of NCMA and division of the NC Department of Natural & Cultural Resources, offers a front row seat to the art of our time through exhibitions, experiences, and education programs with a focus on regional working artists. Founded in 1956 and located on the scenic James G. Hanes estate in Winston-Salem, SECCA offers unique large-scale indoor and outdoor settings for exploring the intersections of contemporary art and culture.

SECCA is located at 750 Marguerite Drive in Winston-Salem. Recent exhibiting artists include Kara Walker, Lonnie Holley, Elizabeth Alexander, Esteban Cabeza de Baca, Freeman Vines, Jillian Mayer, and Antoine Williams. An ongoing Southern Idiom exhibition series highlights the work of Winston-Salem artists. Learn more at