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L. Kasimu Harris: Vanishing Black Bars & Lounges

Museum Staff

Callie Smith - Educator

Callie Smith earned her doctorate in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in May 2023. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Arkansas, and a BA in English Secondary Education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  

She is an editor for Viewfinder, a museum education journal focused on social justice published by the National Art Education Association.  

Callie is also a poet and a researcher. Her poems have been published by Notre Dame Review, Grist, RHINO, Sugar House Review, Blue Earth Review, Quarterly West, and Santa Clara Review, among others. She is a podcast host for the Animal Studies Channel of the New Books Network, the largest open-access collection of author interviews about new scholarly books.

Callie loves teaching and learning in the Hilliard’s galleries. She looks forward to working with students and faculty on the UL campus and with the wider Lafayette community. 

Benjamin Hickey - Interim Director

Benjamin M. Hickey is the curator of exhibitions and Emily Cyr Bridges Endowed Professor of Art at the Hilliard Art Museum on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He is also the interim director. Most central to his curatorial practice are projects that blend social history, sense of place, and interdisciplinary collaborations. With over one hundred exhibition credits, artists he has worked with include Brian Kelly of the Marais Press, Letitia Huckaby, L. Kasimu Harris, Robert C. Tannen, Richard Landry, Pat Phillips, Beili Liu, Sonya Clark, Hasan Elahi, and James Surls. 

Hickey’s most recent writing can be found in Envisioning the South: The Roger Houston Ogden Collection (Hilliard Art Museum), Cloudburst: The Work of Matt Kenyon (Baton Rouge Gallery, Louisiana State University School of Art, 2022), Twenty Years of Marais Press: Imprinting a Campus and a Collection (University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, 2022), and Felicific Calculus: Technology as a Social Marker of Race, Class & Economics in Rochester, NY (CEPA Gallery, Booksmart, 2021). 

Previously, he held positions at the Masur Museum of Art, California Museum of Photography, and Buffalo AKG Art Museum. He is an active member of the Association of Art Museum Curators, having served as a trustee from 2015 to 2020. He earned his Master’s in Art History from the University of California Riverside.

Misty Taylor - Collections and Exhibitons Manager

Misty Taylor graduated from Louisiana State University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science with a focus in Psychology. Directly after graduation, she traveled to Ghana, Africa to complete a minor in African and African-American Studies at the University of Ghana. Upon her return to the states, she moved to New Orleans, Louisiana where she began an apprenticeship with master silversmith, Ellis Joubert. In 2003, Taylor was the recipient of the Rhode Island Institute Scholarship for jewelry design and craftsmanship. After losing a bronze casting foundry in Chalmette, Louisiana with her fiancé due to Hurricane Katrina, Taylor moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana where she began working at the LSU Museum of Art as the Loans and Exhibitions Registrar. In January 2015, Taylor completed a graduate certification from George Washington University in Museum Collections Management and Care.

(Photo & Bio Courtesy: Hilliard Museum)

Cheryll Guilbeau - Store Manager

Cheryll started her career in retail at the age of 15, selling sporting goods at her parents’ outdoor business, Pack and Paddle. She received her degree in Merchandising from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Gaining experience selling as well as buying, her work became her passion. She continued to work as a manager and buyer at Pack and Paddle. After marrying and raising a family, Cheryll worked for the United Way of Acadiana as a volunteer Coordinator after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She spent two years coordinating volunteers to assist in rebuilding homes in Vermillion Parish. This led to her next position as the Boarding School Director for the Academy of the Sacred Heart. Cheryll worked with both domestic and international students, ensuring their health and well being while living on the historic campus of the Academy of the Sacred Heart. After nine years of caring for residential students, the desire grew strong to return to her retail roots. Cheryll accepted the position of Store Manager at the Hilliard Art Museum. Her focus has been to create an amazing and unique shopping experience for each museum visitor. Much of her time and effort is spent researching and curating exceptional products from local artists and specialty vendors.

(Photo & Bio Courtesy: Hilliard Museum)

Bethany LeJeune - Preparator

Bethany LeJeune received her master’s from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2022 and was an undergraduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of the Arts with a concentration in painting in 2019. Aside from being the Preparator at the Hilliard Art Museum, Bethany is the curator at Basin Art’s gallery and is a resident artist in their studio space. Her artistic practice explores her personal experiences in relation to femininity as well as Southern Louisiana culture and consists of a wide range of mediums including writing, textiles, sculptural works, video, and installation.

(Photo & Bio Courtesy: Hilliard Museum)