Alumni Feature: Dr. Jill  Deupi


Dr. Jill  Deupi, a 2006 graduate of the PhD program, has served as the Beaux Arts Director and Chief Curator of the University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum since 2014. Her role, which allows her not only to run an AAM-accredited, AAMD-affiliated art museum but also manage a permanent collection that comprises nearly 19,300 works of art, is extremely diverse. As Chief Curator, Dr. Deupi has organized temporary exhibitions focused on everything from the Russian Avant-Garde to contemporary glass, from 21st-century Afro-Cuban art and culture to 18th- and 19th-century European portraiture.   

Miami’s unique position as leading American arts hub—not just during the hugely popular Art Week (which brings Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Miami, Design Miami, and more than twenty other satellite fairs to town each December) but year round—has provided Deupi with a unique opportunity to connect with artists, collectors, gallerists, and museum professionals from across the country and around the globe. But she has not lost sight of her fundamental commitment to the Lowe and the academic art museum field generally, including communicating the value of such institutions to the wider world. During Art Week 2019, for instance, Dr. Deupi (with support from Art in America and Jorge Pérez) brought together directors from peer institutions to discuss the value and importance of college and university art museums. A few comments from this panel discussion were noted in an article by the University of Miami’s student news team

“Throughout the years in this field, I’ve discovered that academic museums are widely misunderstood. People make a lot of assumptions that are often times wrong,” Deupi said. “I feel a responsibility to convey the message of the impact museums makes in the community.” 

Speaking about one of the Lowe’s recent exhibitions, “DIAGO: The Pasts of this Afro-Cuban Present,” Deupi said “the exhibition is about racial discrimination in Cuba. It is very open and frank. We have so many of the same issues in our country. When you introduce this content to students and community members, it sparks intellectual expansion and growth.” 

We asked Dr. Deupi how the Lowe Art museum is responding to COVID-19 and keeping its students and community engaged:   

“Recognizing our civic and ethical responsibility to help keep our community safe, the Lowe has been closed since March 16, during which time we made a very rapid, very successful pivot to the digital arena. Through a wide range of programs—stretching from a born-digital student-curated exhibition to weekly virtual Mindfulness sessions and free Zoom backgrounds featuring works from our permanent collection—we have been able to keep our many audiences, including UM’s students and faculty, engaged and connected. The response has been tremendous, as people are craving activities that feed their hearts and minds; an arena in which art museums excel.”  

You will find all of the Lowe’s digital engagement offerings here: