Maru López

SNAG Board Candidate
Maru López
is an artist, educator, and emerging craft researcher. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico she is presently based in San Diego, CA. Her practice is a process of exploration and a space of reflection about our connections to objects and the meaning we install in them. For the last decade, she has focused on jewelry, its intimate relationship with the body, and how this provides a powerful platform to process and share ideas. Her jewelry has been exhibited throughout Europe, Latin America and the United States including Jewellery is a Metamorphic view of the World in the Ilias Lalalounis Jewelry Museum in Greece, Manfred Bischoff: A Retrospective during Munich Jewellery Week 2015, Alchimia: An Anthology at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston Vinte e Tres: Joalharia Contemporanes na Ibero-America in Lisbon Portugal, II Bienal Latinoamericana de Joyeria Contemporanea in Argentina, Hot Dog: An Exhibition during SNAG 2019, Passengers in Munich Jewellery Week 2020, as well as Insurgencies: Women’s Art on the Border in the Era of the Cold War in The Front Gallery in San Diego and Objects D’ Art in Embajada Gallery in San Juan. Alongside her artistic practice, Maru teaches jewelry workshops and works as a museum educator in San Diego. Maru holds a BA in Latin American History, an AAS in Fashion Design, and studied jewelry for 4 years at Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence, Italy. She is currently pursuing an MA in Critical Craft Studies at Warren Wilson College where she is researching Puerto Rico, its crafts, notions of Puerto Ricanness, fluid movements of diaspora, and possibilities of re-imaginings.


What does SNAG mean to you? Why are you interested in committing your time and energy to our organization?
Since the beginning of my jewelry career, I have engaged with SNAG’s website, social media, and magazine to learn about jewelry in the United States. Through these platforms I was able to familiarize myself with the work of many American jeweler’s while also immersing myself in the critical discourse that is moving our field forward.

What do you think are the characteristics of a great Board member?
In my view good Board members are passionate, committed, organized individuals that can take initiative while also working collaborative. They can envision the necessary changes to keep the organization current while imbuing it with the strong history that has forged its mission.

Fundraising is a significant obligation of Board service. Can you tell us about your experience in fundraising?

Of all the obligations necessary for Board service this is the one I have least direct experience with. Although my years as a museum professional have made me familiar with the necessity of diversifying fundraising and coming up with new revenue streams. If elected, I would like to work with other board members in ideating ways that we can expand ideas about fundraising and include more people in the effort.

Board members bring experience, wisdom, strategic thinking, and their support network contacts. Can you tell us about yours?
It has taken me a long time to understand the strength of my varied educational and professional experiences. Since college I have balanced working in cultural institutions —libraries, archives, and museums— with the committed discipline necessary for a successful jewelry practice. These experiences have allowed me to develop the ability to navigate different situations all with creativity and strong empathy towards others. From children running wild as they visit a museum, to managing a team of museum educators, to sitting at my bench creating work for upcoming exhibitions, to writing and researching about craft, this array of activities has given me a well-rounded experience where I am comfortable leading as well as letting others lead. It has given me the ability to collaborate in working towards a collective mission while expanding my networks with each collaboration and working for the different networks I navigate to intersect.

What kind of autonomy do you have over your calendar? Are you prepared to commit the needed time to this leadership position?
Yes, I am committed to giving this position the necessary attention it requires. After May my calendar will be more flexible as I finished studies in the Critical Craft Studies MA program. In recent months I have been juggling school, a full-time job at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and my jewelry practice. Once I’m done with school, I will have ample time to focus on the SNAG Board if I am elected.

Can you describe a problem you have had to address that reached a point of crisis? How did you solve it?
This past weekend was the reopening of the flagship building of the museum where I work. The whole week we had events planned and had been preparing for many months. The two biggest events for the education department, where I’m the Lead Educator/manager, were Saturday and Sunday. The quantity of people on both days exceeded our expectations. Especially on Sunday when families arrived in an enthusiastic frenzy. The energy filled the room and soon there was no space for the quantity of people, materials were running out, and my team was very anxious. As the Lead it was my responsibility to not allow this to reach a point of crisis and to determine how to manage the different situations affecting our event. We brought out extra tables, brought blankets and created a picnic area where people could do their art activities, quickly came up with an extra activity, and assigned staff to prep more materials, all while making sure the hundreds of people streaming through the door were enjoying themselves. We made it through the weekend with excellent feedback and an incredibly successful reopening!

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