Mari Carmen Ramirez
Director, International Center for the Arts of the Americas at MFAH
Time magazine has called her one of the most influential Hispanics in America. To be certain, Mari Carmen Ramirez is setting the tone for how the world sees Latin American art. Ramirez began her rise in Puerto Rico where she served as director of the Museum of Anthropology, History and Art at the University of Puerto Rico. After that she spent 12 years in Austin establishing the Latin American program at the Blanton Art Museum before joining the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 2001.
As the first director of the International Center for the Arts of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Ramirez is responsible for some of the most celebrated initiatives to come out of the museum and has helped elevate 20th century Latin American art.
Born...San Juan, Puerto Rico.
My first impression of Houston...I always felt that Houston was the city of the future, even before I got here. There was always that sense that it was a frontier city where anything can happen. And I was very much attracted to the cultural diversity of Houston and also the cultural infrastructure--all the museums.
How Houston has changed since I arrived...I think the city has grown immensely, there are a lot more people. The cultural offerings are more diverse. There's also an incredibly interesting art scene with a lot more artists. But yet it still doesn't get the attention that it deserves, so I still see Houston as a well-kept secret in many ways.
Where I go to experience art...The Contemporary Arts Museum and the Menil, in addition to MFAH. Among the galleries, I really like Sicardi Gallery.
How Houston's art scene compares to that of other cities...It's still an under-the-radar scene. I think far more can be done to promote it. There is as much quality work happening here as other places, but I think we don't know how to get the word out. We have to change that.