Aziz Isham joins MoMI as Executive Director beginning October 1
August 24, 2023
We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Aziz Isham as our new Executive Director. A veteran nonprofit arts executive, Emmy-winning filmmaker, writer, and curator, Aziz steps into the leadership position on October 1 as we start to explore a major project to redesign our core exhibition.
Aziz comes to the Museum after a twenty-year career leading nonprofit arts organizations, most recently as the executive director of Twenty Summers, whose annual festival in Provincetown, Massachusetts, presents and incubates original work that imagines a more sustainable and equitable future. Prior to that, he was the founding Executive Producer of the Brooklyn-based community-media network BRIC TV, where he oversaw hundreds of hours of programming by filmmakers and journalists and shepherded numerous features and shorts to the national spotlight. While there, he opened a state-of-the-art media incubation center in downtown Brooklyn. Aziz has produced more than 40 documentaries, feature films, and TV series—with an emphasis on independent and community-focused productions. He has received six NY Emmy Awards for documentaries on climate change, education, and the arts.
Aziz Isham grew up in New York City and graduated from Yale with a degree in Anthropology. He speaks frequently on community and media and teaches showrunning and social justice filmmaking at the Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema in Brooklyn, New York. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two young children.
"MoMI really is the museum of the moment. AI is changing everything we think we know about the moving image, and media literacy is a prerequisite for navigating our world online. I can't think of a more relevant New York institution and a better place to make sense of the present and figure out our future," said Aziz. "As the world of the moving image transforms, we've got this opportunity to redesign how the Museum engages with the public and with our communities in Queens and in New York City. I'm especially thrilled to be joining as the Museum reimagines its core exhibition—building on so much incredible work by the curators, staff, and trustees."
“After our six-month robust search, we are thrilled to announce Aziz Isham as MoMI’s new Executive Director,” said MoMI Co-Chair Ivan Lustig. "With his impressive background and diverse set of skills, Aziz emerged as the most capable, energetic, and enthusiastic candidate, and we are truly delighted to have him join the MoMI team.”
“Aziz’s background and many achievements leading nonprofit arts organizations make him a dynamic addition to MoMI’s fine leadership team,” added MoMI Co-Chair Michael Barker. “Together with our curators, educators, and other staff, we look for Aziz to advance the mission of our Museum and shape and expand the footprint of our many education and community engagement initiatives. We are pleased to welcome him in the midst of an exciting new era for MoMI.”
The Museum is in the planning phase of a full redesign of our core exhibition that explores how people create and engage with the moving image, defined as film, television, video games, social media, and other forms of digital media. The new exhibition, to be on view for a decade, will take a culturally and physically inclusive approach to this subject matter. Located on two floors comprising 13,000 square feet of gallery space, it will immerse visitors in the creative and technical process of producing, promoting, and presenting films, television shows, and digital entertainment, and consider how audiences creatively respond to screen-based stories and characters. We anticipate the redesigned exhibition will play a critical role as our touchstone experience and primary teaching resource.
The project has received major support from the State of New York, with funding secured by Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the National Endowment for the Humanities; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Office of the Queens Borough President Donovan Richards; and individual supporters.