Press Releases

Trustees Hires Tess Lukey as First-Ever Associate Curator of Native American Art

Boston  |  October 5, 2022

The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees), the nation’s first and state’s largest land conservation nonprofit, has hired Tess Lukey as its first-ever Associate Curator of Native American Art to develop exhibitions and research initiatives related to The Trustees’ Indigenous art collections.

Lukey, an Aquinnah Wampanoag tribal member and lifelong New Englander, will be based at both Fruitlands Museum and the deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum. She will work closely with community members, collectors, and donors for potential acquisitions while offering broader access to and knowledge of The Trustees’ collections of art made by Indigenous peoples.

“We are entering a new period in the history of this organization with Tess’s arrival as Associate Curator of Native American Art. We are eager to learn from her, to work with her, and to support her as she develops new partnerships with Native artists and communities throughout North America,” said Jessica May, Managing Director of Art and Exhibitions and Artistic Director, deCordova. “The stories of community and connection that Tess is poised to tell are so important for our organization and our culture.”

Lukey arrives with extensive curatorial and educational experience. She has worked for the Museum of Fine Arts and the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston, and the John Sommers Gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has also completed fellowships at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and the Hibben Center for Archaeology Study and the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology in Albuquerque.

Lukey has a bachelor’s degree in ceramics and art history from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a master’s degree in Native American art history with a minor in museum studies from the University of New Mexico. In her spare time, Lukey is a traditional potter and basket weaver practicing the techniques of her own Indigenous community. She currently lives in Sutton, Mass., the ancestral home of the Nipmuc Nation, with her partners and children.

Her first day is Tuesday, October 11.

In other Trustees’ arts news, Sarah Montross has been promoted from Senior Curator to Chief Curator, The Trustees. Montross has successfully organized numerous exhibitions, publications, and outdoor commissions at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum over the past seven years. Notable exhibition projects include Jeffrey Gibson: INFINITE INDIGENOUS QUEER LOVE (2021); Visionary New England (MIT Press catalogue) and co-curating the New England Triennial (formerly Biennial) in 2016, 2018 and 2021. She has also activated deCordova’s outdoor sculpture program with loans and new commissions by diverse artists including Maren Hassinger, Leeza Meksin, Wardell Milan, Nari Ward, and Letha Wilson. Montross is currently organizing an exhibition and outdoor commission with the artist Hugh Hayden (MIT Press catalogue) that will open in April 2023.

As Chief Curator, Montross will continue to shape the exhibition and sculpture park program at deCordova, while also broadening her oversight of and collaborations with the exhibitions team and guest curators for projects at Fruitlands Museum and across the state.

Those looking to learn more about Art @ The Trustees, a program that highlights innovative exhibitions and site-specific installations that celebrate our special places, can visit

About The Trustees
Founded by landscape architect Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees has, for more than 130 years, been a catalyst for important ideas, endeavors, and progress in Massachusetts. As a steward of distinctive and dynamic places of both historic and cultural value, The Trustees is the nation’s first preservation and conservation organization, and its landscapes and landmarks continue to inspire discussion, innovation, and action today as they did in the past. We are a nonprofit, supported by members, friends and donors and our 123 sites are destinations for residents, members, and visitors alike, welcoming millions of guests annually.