Lisa Silberstein '93 - Reflecting Urban Truth and Beauty

Since childhood, Lisa has always been interested in arts. She remembers taking all types of art classes and trips to museums, including the Oakland Museum, which she has many fond memories of. While attending Bentley for middle school Lisa developed more focus and interest in academics, developing strong connections with teachers like Ms. Ludwick and Mr. Schug, who helped her discover her love of ancient history and the classics. She also recalls making dear friends during her time at Bentley: “Middle school is a really difficult time in life and I’m still close with some of my classmates from my Bentley days, including Elizabeth Morgan. I was also very close with Alexandra (Allie) Greene, who tragically passed away in 2007. Elizabeth and Allie were my rocks… Bentley is intrinsically linked with my youth, and as I still live in the area, it holds many layers of connection for me even today.”

When Lisa attended U.C. Davis, she fell in love with art history and decided that she wanted to work in a museum. She worked and interned at galleries, including an internship at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., taught art to kids, and studied abroad in Italy. After U.C. Davis, Lisa received a scholarship at Tufts to earn her Master’s in Art History and Museum Studies with an emphasis in Museum Education. While at Tufts, she also took classes from Museum of Fine Arts curators every semester and interned in the Education Department at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA. When she finished her Masters, she returned to California and got a job at the Contemporary Jewish Museum where she did educational, programmatic, and curatorial work. Afterwards, Lisa moved to Guatemala where she became the artistic director for a photography and writing youth development program for teen Guatemalan girls. When she moved back to the Bay Area nine years ago, she got a job at the Oakland Museum, where she still works today.

Lisa believes that museums have an obligation to create a place for people to engage and connect with each other by by creating relevant collections that inspire deep thought about community and the world around us. Lisa is currently the experience developer at the Oakland Museum, which she describes as a rare combination of curatorial and educational work. Lisa recently worked on the Black Panther Party exhibition, which she found to be an incredible experience. The Party started in Oakland 50 years ago, and Lisa believes that story has been not only underrepresented, but actually misrepresented. While working on the exhibition, Lisa was able to get to know and listening to people about their lived experience with the Black Panthers: “It was truly incredible and I’m so happy to be part of making that history and those stories more accessible, engaging and apparent to our visitors, particularly the young people of Oakland.” Lisa continues to find tremendous joy in bringing Oakland’s history, artistic, and cultural richness to life.