The Griffin Museum of Photography recently honored Karen Sinsheimer, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s (SBMA) former Curator of Photography, posthumously with its Focus Lifetime Achievement Award. The Awards Presentation and Celebration was held Nov. 13 and 14 in Winchester, MA, home of the Griffin Museum of Photography.
The Focus Awards recognize individuals making critical contributions to the promotion, curation and presentation of photography. Sinsheimer has been on the Griffin Museum’s shortlist of Lifetime Award recipients for the past three years, and this year in June, the nominating committee decided to present Sinsheimer with the Lifetime Achievement Award. After Karen’s death in late July, it was decided to still move forward with the award despite the fact that the Griffin has never presented a posthumous award. This Focus Award recognizes Sinsheimer’s dedication to the photographic arts.
The nominating committee for the Focus Awards chose Sinsheimer because of her innovative spirit in shaping trends within our industry. They were impressed by the list of exhibitions she researched and assembled and the amount of photographers she mentored and whose careers she clearly advanced. She also helped SBMA produce several books on photography and wrote numerous essays for the museum and individual artists, all of which highlight her tireless efforts to advance the medium of photography.
Sinsheimer was first hired as a consultant by SBMA in July 1990 to organize the exhibition From Watkins to Weston: 101 Years of California Photography, in celebration of the museum’s 50th anniversary. Soon after, she became a permanent member of the staff as the first full-time curator of photography, organizing more than 120 exhibitions for the Museum for the next 25 years.