Visual AIDS has always been committed to inspiring change. Since it was founded in 1988, it has grown and evolved over its near 30-year history. Through all the changes of the AIDS pandemic and the changing role of art amidst this pandemic, Visual AIDS has remained a vital force as it continues to use contemporary art to bring provocative attention to HIV/AIDS while preserving a history and supporting artists living with HIV. Responding to change has been an integral part of Visual AIDS’ history, growth, and success.

A few months ago, Nelson Santos decided to start a new chapter in his life and announced that he will be moving on from his role as Executive Director at Visual AIDS. “I am excited to see where this new change will bring me and Visual AIDS. I am very proud to have been a part of the organization for the last 17 years. My work at Visual AIDS has been the most rewarding time of my life. I am inspired by the courage, talent and generosity of so many artists and activists who I have been fortunate to meet, work with, and call my friends.”

The Board of Directors thanks Nelson for his many years of leadership and service. His exemplary enthusiasm and dedication to Visual AIDS and our community of artists, activists, historians and partners have been key elements of the success and sustainability of Visual AIDS. We are very proud of and grateful for the many milestones and accomplishments Visual AIDS has realized under Nelson’s leadership.

After careful consideration, The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has selected current Associate Director, Esther McGowan, to be Visual AIDS’s new Executive Director effective July 1st. Esther’s experience, commitment and thoughtful guidance will ensure an exciting and impactful future for Visual AIDS. Please join us in congratulating Esther.

As we move ahead, we look forward to working with you to continue the essential mission of Visual AIDS, because AIDS IS NOT OVER.

And we look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming program events and our annual VAVA VOOM benefit on May 22 to wish Nelson well and to congratulate Esther. Please be sure to check our website for more information.

Thank you so much for your support of Visual AIDS!


Visual AIDS's Board of Directors:
Patrick Owens, President
Jennifer Morton, Vice President
Lucas Michael, Secretary
Ralph M. Randazzo, Esq., Treasurer
Lisa Dent
Steed Taylor
Lauren Wittels

Read more about the announcement on Artforum & ARTnews