The San Antonio Museum of Art announced Emily J. Sano, PhD., as the Coates-Cowden-Brown Senior Advisor for Asian Art on Tuesday.
Sano is no stranger to the Museum of Art; she worked as guest curator and lecturer for the museum’s exhibition “Ancient to Modern: Japanese Contemporary Ceramics and Their Sources” last year.
Her new position will oversee all aspects of Asian art in the museum, as well as serve as a mentor for junior colleagues and spearhead plans for new exhibitions.
Sano began her more than 30 year career in art at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, serving as Curator of Asian Art and Deputy Director of Academic Services.
She later served as Deputy Director and Chief Curator of Non-Western Art at the Dallas Museum of Art before moving to San Francisco to assume the roles of Deputy Director, Chief Curator, and Chief Administrative Officer at the Asian Art Museum.
Her experience with art communities around the country has allowed her to showcase much of Asia’s history, something she regards as one of her passions.
“People should understand how powerful Asian history is,” Sano said. “The more people know about the vast continent and the types of culture and art it develops helps them understand its success in terms of early technology and other things.”
Among her numerous accomplishments, she managed a $180 million project in San Francisco that converted the city’s main library into a fully-renovated museum.
Priorities for Sano in San Antonio include planning and executing an exhibition for Feb. 2017 called “Heaven and Hell: Salvation and Retribution in Pure Land Buddhism.” The exhibition will spotlight Buddhist art containing elements of the afterlife.
Katie Luber, Museum of Art director, said the Museum staff looked forward to working with Sano, a highly revered figure in the Asian art world.
“We know she will bring a heightened awareness of the subtleties of Asian art, and will bring the best in programming in Asian art to our city.” Luber said.
The Museum of Art holds the only Asian art collection in the city, a fact that will become more profound under Sano’s direction.
“Emily has extensive museum experience and we hope she will be so happy here,” Luber added.
In 2008, Sano was the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Golden Rays and Neck Ribbon awards from the Japanese government for her work in promoting and celebrating Japanese art and culture. She hopes to move forward with that same passion, and bring awareness of Asian art to the Alamo city.
“Asia is a dominant force in the world” she said. “People should realize we have a great source for Asian art here.”
*Top image: Entryway of curated exhibit by Emily J. Sano in the San Antonio Museum of Art. Photo Courtesy of San Antonio Museum of Art.