Laguna Art Museum Announces Curatorial Fellows Jean Stern and Rochelle Steiner

The Laguna Art Museum is announcing two esteemed art professionals as curators through early 2023. Art historian Jean Stern and acclaimed arts curator, educator and writer Rochelle Steiner will help develop and present museum exhibits and public programs.

“The strong backgrounds and experience of both individuals will help define curatorial projects at the Laguna Art Museum,” said Julie Perlin Lee, Executive Director of the Laguna Art Museum. “These collaborations will build on the quality of the museum’s exhibitions, fellowships, and programming, and inspire confidence in the museum’s commitment to Californian art and artists.”

Throughout the one-year fellowship, Stern and Steiner will focus on their areas of expertise, presenting programs to educate art lovers with unique presentations and experiences. Stern’s programming will draw on his expertise in the California art movement, examining the achievements of pioneering artists through a series of lectures. Steiner’s programming will include in-depth discussions with living artists who have exhibits presented at the museum or whose works relate to the museum’s permanent collection.

A recognized authority on California Impressionism, art historian Jean Stern has extensive experience in the field as an author, curator, lecturer and teacher. He is director emeritus of the Irvine Museum. In more than 25 years at the museum, he has established a national presence for the Irvine Museum in the fields of California art and history through a remarkable international series of books, exhibitions, lectures, articles and video documentaries. During his career, he has presented over 250 lectures and judged and jured nearly 100 art competitions.

Stern has presented tours and lectures on Californian art at numerous museums, including the International Cultural Center in Krakow, Poland; Mona Bismarck Foundation in Paris, France; National Academy Museum in New York; Terra Museum in Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the San Juan Capistrano Mission; San Diego Museum of Art; Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Gibbes Museum in Charleston; Brigham Young University Museum; National Center for Western Heritage in Autry; The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and many more. He has served as a consultant and appears in Impressions of California, a series of PBS documentary videos on art in California, and in Plein Air: Painting the American Landscape, (PBS 2007). In 2017, Stern received the prestigious Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture. He also received three Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association in 2013; the Plein Air Painters of America in 2014; and Plein Air Magazine in 2014.

Rochelle Steiner brings over 20 years of experience working with artists and cultural institutions in the US, UK, Canada and Asia, including the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Serpentine Gallery in London and at the Saint Louis Art Museum. A noted curator, writer, and educator, she has curated more than 70 major art exhibitions and large-scale public art projects in the United States and abroad and has built public art collections. A native of Los Angeles, she holds a BA from Syracuse University and an MA and Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. She is also currently the Global Curator for Artpark in Western New York.

In 2019, Steiner was appointed Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs and Programs (later became Chief Curator and Director of Public Programs and Education) at the Palm Springs Art Museum. She was responsible for the development, curation and execution of the annual exhibition program with established and emerging international artists, architects and designers, as well as the presentation of works from the collections. She has also overseen public programs, education and interpretation for diverse audiences, and developed digital platforms for virtual experiences. Steiner oversaw the docent program and collaborated with school programs that offer on-site and distance programs for students in grades 3-5, teen programs, and community programs with partners such as the Alzheimer’s Association . Steiner was also a professor and dean of the Roski School of Art & Design at the University of Southern California (USC).

Upcoming Curatorial Fellows programs at the museum include “Historic Women Artists of California” on April 28, where Stern will discuss a selection of California historical female artists from the late 19th to mid-20th century. On May 7, Steiner will host a discussion with Laguna Beach artist Gerard Basil Stripling about his studio practice and public art. For more information about these events and to purchase tickets, visit

For more information about the Laguna Art Museum and upcoming Curatorial Fellowship programming, visit To stay connected and find out about upcoming events, follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Mildred D. Field