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Meet Laura Hyatt of LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Hyatt.

Laura, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have always loved art. I grew up drawing and painting and was fortunate to have a few formative art teachers along the way. I can remember going to MOCA as a child and experiencing the Mark Rothko and Robert Rauschenberg works, which made an indelible impression on me.

When I graduated college with a degree in art history and studio art, I had no idea what an actual career in the field could look like. I was fortunate to know an amazing woman Miki Garcia, who at the time was the director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara, and she brought me on to assist with a project. Through Miki, I met Shamim Momin, who was in the process of founding LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division). LAND has had a pull on me since I first learned about it, and I started working with the organization as an intern, then director of development, associate director, and since July 2019 as the executive director. I love the limitless nature of the organization and being able to support artists in such a unique way.

In between my years with LAND I also moved to New York to pursue a Masters degree in Art Business and ended up back in LA where I wrote my dissertation on the history of LA’s art market and the city’s evolution as an arts capital. I worked for a bit with Anat Ebgi at her gallery which was then in Chinatown and recently spent 2 1/2 years at the Hammer Museum in the development department. I’ve loved all the experiences I have had but working at LAND and in this new capacity is by far the most rewarding and challenging of all the roles.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been far from a smooth road, but I have learned that the most difficult times are the most formative, so I have developed more trust when going through it. My struggles were mostly with myself, being honest about what I was most passionate about and growing in self-awareness and introspection. The art world can be really difficult to navigate and find your way since there are no set paths. But I’ve been fortunate to work with strong women at every step of the way that encouraged and pushed me to grow and not fear the challenges, which are inevitable.

LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from others?
LAND is a nonprofit organization the commissions, curates, and produces public art installations, exhibitions and programming. In essence we consider ourselves a contemporary art museum but without walls. We are based in Los Angeles but have done projects nationwide and work with artists from around the globe. I am very proud of the ambitious projects that we have realized, from a cross-country billboard project spanning Interstate 10 from Florida to LA to a native wildflower initiative by artist Fritz Haeg that transformed 50 sites across LA country in native wildflower gardens.

We work with artists to realize projects that wouldn’t make sense in a traditional museum setting and facilitate projects that are responsive to their sites and communities. I love how every project is entirely unique and are only realized through vast collaborations with a wide variety of partnerships, from individuals to organizations. The flexible structure allows us to be nimble and responsive but also take on longer-term initiatives. Our goal is to bring art to as many audiences as possible, all completely free while allowing artists opportunities to work on an ambitious scale. I am really excited about our upcoming programming that will address social and ecological issues specific to Los Angeles.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
There are so many highlights, from small victories on behalf of artists and their visions with LAND to launching a young patrons group at the Hammer Museum in support of the Hammer Projects exhibition series. I am most proud when I am connecting people. There is nothing more rewarding to me than collaboration and being a part of the arts community in LA.

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