The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

Meet our Staff

Meg Hagyard, Interim Director

Meg is a native Tucsonan and alumna of the University of Arizona School of Art and has been active in the Tucson arts community for over 20 years. During that time, she has worked and volunteered with numerous arts organizations including the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Tucson Children’s Museum. She currently serves on the board of the Sonoran Glass School.






UAMA-3759Gina Compitello-Moore, Marketing Manager

Gina received her B.A. in French and Music from Ripon College, her M.A. in French Literature from the University of Oregon, and her M.A. in Arts and Cultural Management from Université Lumière Lyon 2. Her thesis work centered on the intersection of sense of place and cultural heritage. She has worked in a variety of cultural institutions and comes most recently from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. She is a passionate advocate for the arts and serves on the Marketing Committee for the Tucson Pima Arts Council. Gina and her husband also own a nursery specializing in cactus and succulents.


 UAMA-3612Chelsea Farrar, Curator of Community Engagement

Chelsea holds an M.A. in Art Education from the University of Arizona. As the Curator of Community Engagement at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, Chelsea Farrar cultivates strategic partnerships for on and off-site activities and initiatives between the museum, community, faculty, and students. Her work with community engagement through the arts has included several award-winning community programs and exhibitions involving LGBTQ youth, military families, and adults with disabilities.


DSC_0726Jim Kushner, Security Officer

Jim was born in western Pennsylvania in February 1944 and grew up in southern California. He attended California State Polytechnic University earning a B.S. in social science and social work in 1967. After graduation Jim enlisted in the Air Force and served 4 years in Europe and spending a lot of time visiting some of the most famous museums on the continent. For ten years he owned and operated a bakery in California and for a short time also had one in Idaho on the shores of Lake Payette near the border of Idaho and Oregon. After spending the next 14+ years working in a local correctional facility, he had the opportunity to retire. In 2013, Jim came to work at the University of Arizona and as luck would have it,  got the chance to spend time enjoying and learning about the marvelous art collection at the UAMA. The last 20 months that he been here has given me the opportunity to see and enjoy great art every day. Someone once said that when you enjoy what you are doing it is never work only fun. Jim can honestly say that he has fun being here and helping our amazing staff bring this equally amazing collection to the attention of our students and the citizens of our great state.

Jill McClearyJill McCleary, Head of Archives and Preservation

Jill has served as the UAMA’s Head of Archives and Preservation since 2016. She started with the Museum in 2012 and oversaw the early stages of the recently-formed Archive of Visual Arts. Since arriving, she has supervised the acquisition of over 700 linear feet of artists’ archival materials and hundreds of works of art. Jill has a passion for facilitating scholarship from the Museum’s holdings and providing students with access to original works. She holds a Masters in Library and Information Science and a certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Iowa. She is involved in organizations including the Art Library Society of North America, the Arizona Archives Alliance, and the Society of Southwest Archivists.

UAMA-3574Olivia Miller, Curator of Exhibitions and Education

Olivia Miller received her B.A. in Studio Art and Art History from the University of Arizona and her M.A. in Art History from the University of Oregon. In addition to curating a wide range of exhibitions and leading the museum’s docent program, she also serves on the museum’s acquisitions and public art committees. She co-runs the Science and Arts Communication Fellowship Program, which is part of an IMLS grant partnership with the Pacific Science Center and the Connor Prairie Interactive History Park. Prior to her position at UAMA she taught art history for both high school and college levels and worked at multiple non-profit arts organizations in Oregon and Arizona. Currently a Ph.D. student in art history she will write her dissertation on the C. Leonard Pfeiffer Collection, the UAMA’s founding collection.

UAMA-3530Brit Palomarez, Membership & Community Outreach

Brit is a Tucson native and an alumna of the University of Arizona with a degree in Retailing and Consumer Sciences and a minor in Art and Art History. Accessibility to the arts and arts education in Tucson has always been a strong passion and basis for the work she has done in her post-undergraduate career. She is excited about creating a sense of community and shared understanding through the programs and exhibitions the UAMA offers.


UAMA-3620Nathan Saxton, Exhibition Specialist, Senior

Nathan comes to the UAMA with 20 years of art handling and exhibition design experience. Prior to joining the Museum in 2014, he was the owner of Borealis Arts, a full-service framing and art care studio. Nathan is pursuing a B.S. in Optical Sciences and Engineering, in part to study the ways that light damage to art can be minimized without adversely affecting the viewer’s enjoyment of the artwork. “The thing I love most about this institution is that our permanent collection contains very high quality examples of artwork from a wide variety of genres and periods. One week I’m installing a Rothko, and the next week I’m framing a collection of works from the 16th century.”




Kristen Schmidt, Registrar

Kristen grew up in Middlebury, Vermont and graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington with a degree in art history in 1996. She then moved to Tucson for an internship at the Tucson Museum of Art, which led to an assistant registrar’s position. She started as registrar at the UAMA in 2007. She is now pursuing a master’s degree in art history at the UA, focusing on the artwork in the Samuel H. Kress collection.



DSC_0682Angela Telesco, Program Coordinator, Guest Services

Angela received her B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Arizona. She joined the Museum of Art Staff in September 2014. Prior to her position at the UAMA she worked for 25 years in Research Administration and the Graduate College on the UA campus. Continuing to work at the University in a completely different learning environment is very exciting. She is thrilled to work in a Museum that has such a wonderful collection, education department, and a variety of exhibitions.