VIProfile: Steven Matijcio

by Megan Venable 

Meet Steven Matijcio. He’s a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, a newly wed and father of 9-month-old Maija Rose, and the newest executive director of the Knoxville Museum of Art.

Originally from Toronto, Steven has studied in New York and has worked in various capacities in the arts in Cincinnati, Winston-Salem, as well as international locations such as Berlin, South Korea and Poland. He and his wife, Anita, are now proud to call themselves Knoxvillians. “I’m inspired by the place that I’m in,” he says. “I love that this city is nestled into this beautiful environment.”

Anita and Steven enjoyed a unique beginning to their relationship. His most recent position was the Director and Chief Curator of the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, a role that he held through the pandemic. He met his now-wife, both masked, at a grocery store in Texas when she was having trouble locating a particular chocolate bar. The two agreed to meet outdoors a week or so later, and then fell quickly in love. They also boast a total of three – count ‘em – three union ceremonies; one small service during the pandemic to seal the deal, then two more to include his and her families in Canada and Texas. 

Steven’s relationship with the KMA began years ago when he requested a loan from curator Stephen Wicks for a show in North Carolina. When curating a show in Winston-Salem, he asked and received the loan of Mirage, painted by artist Tomory Dodge. Fast forward to this January when he joined the Museum staff, he was asked if there was any piece in the KMA collection he wanted to hang in his Knoxville office. Not surprisingly, he requested Mirage by Tomory Dodge. 

Also, in his office he notes posters hanging from two shows he curated, “Art Thou Gone, Beloved Ghost?” in Gdansk, Poland and “Paperless” in Winston-Salem. The show in Poland involved video projections as a medium and in the North Carolina show, paper. “I like the contrast of these two shows,” he says, “What happens when paper is gone?”

As for his future for the Museum, Steven says, “The KMA is in a super strong and stable position. There is no radical agenda, I want to build momentum and enhance the vibe and energy and enrich conversations.” He emphasized the KMA’s strong investment in people and the support he has from outgoing director, David Butler. “David really sees this transition as handing off the torch,” Steven says. 

He and Anita hope that Knoxville becomes their forever home. “I want to build a rapport with the south. I’m doing what I love, and we’re loving living here.”

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