Toccarra Thomas named inaugural Managing Director

SPACE Gallery is proud to announce the appointment of Toccarra Thomas as the organization’s inaugural Managing Director. The hire follows an extensive search for this new position that will be charged with overseeing operations; Thomas will join SPACE on November 6th.

“We are honored that Toccarra has accepted this senior position with SPACE that will be crucial to our organizational growth,” said Executive Director Kelsey Halliday Johnson. “We are building a stronger organization with shared leadership and exciting new voices at the table. From my first conversation with her, it was clear Toccarra shares our organizational values and deeply cares about sustaining opportunities for artists.”

Thomas is a media and performance artist, film programmer, and arts administrator. She joins SPACE after having served as the inaugural general manager at Pioneer Works Art Foundation in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Her career trajectory was informed by an extraordinary opportunity to work with Theatre of the Oppressed founder Augusto Boal through a collaboration with New College of Florida. The experience inspired her to pursue the arts in ways that afforded opportunities for creative expression of all genres among diverse populations and interests to help facilitate opportunities for engagement, understanding, appreciation, and acceptance.

“SPACE is a dynamic organization that is intentionally and thoughtfully exploring what it means to participate in the economy of cultural production and mutual engagement across diverse networks and communities. There is a real sense that the concepts of “sharing” and “collaboration” are guiding principles that fortify the organization’s ability to have meaningful impact. I think there is real value in that approach, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

A native of New England, Toccarra Thomas attended Foote School in New Haven before moving to Florida, where she graduated from Booker High School Visual Performing Arts program in Sarasota. While obtaining her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology (minor in Film Studies) at Smith College, she was awarded both a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and the Smithsonian Research Training Fellowship. Both awards allowed her to study the visual representation of culture in the U.S. and Africa before starting her career in the nonprofit sector. While completing her M.A. in Media Studies at The New School, she was an interview facilitator for StoryCorps—the Peabody Award-winning oral history organization—contributing to the collection at the Library of Congress and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Later, she served as program manager at African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) where she produced screenings at Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Museum of Art and Design and other institutions across the U.S. and abroad before managing artist resources at New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).

Please join us in welcoming Toccarra to Portland at an upcoming event in November or stopping by the gallery. 

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