Kara Q. Smith

Kara Q. Smith

Interim Director MFA-IA Program


Kara Q. Smith is an arts professional with over 16 years of experience working for museums, galleries and non-profit institutions in California and beyond. She is passionate about advancing equity and accessibility in the arts, championing the role of arts and cultural organizations in our communities, and advocating for art as a driver of social change and mutual understanding. Kara currently holds the position of manager of programs and organizational advancement for Californians for the Arts to advance support for and awareness of the state's creative workforce and economy. She previously served as the executive director of Gallup MainStreet Arts & Cultural District in Gallup, NM, where she developed programs to support artists/entrepreneurs in the downtown district and drove creative economic development strategies through placemaking projects and cross-sector partnerships. She has curated exhibitions, spoken at art fairs and symposiums, officiated workshops and lectures, and written for numerous publications–most often focusing on the intersections of contemporary art, the built environment and queer identity.


  • Master of Arts, Urban Studies (Art, Place & Public Studies), San Francisco Art Institute, 2009
  • Bachelor of Arts, Art History, Birmingham-Southern College, 2006