Julie Poitras Santos headshot

Julie Poitras Santos

Associate Professor, MFA

Dept. : MFA

“As Director of Exhibitions in the Institute of Contemporary Art I look forward to working with artists, community, faculty, and students to consider inspiring works of art and some of the critical conversations of our time. My work in the arts is at its heart research-based and interdisciplinary; I enjoy working in collaboration across different fields of study as a way to reveal new ways of thinking and to provoke new questions. Linking sympathetic or contrasting ideas and concerns across different disciplines allows me to expand the scope and vision of a project necessary to thinking with others in these urgent times.”


Poitras Santos’ previous work as an independent curator includes co-curating the Making Migration Visible: Traces, Tracks, & Pathways, exhibition and statewide initiative in the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA&D in 2018, Platform Projects/Walks (2016) and A Thickening Rhythm (2012) for the former 4,200-square foot Coleman Burke Gallery space located in Brunswick, Maine.

Poitras Santos has taught in the MFA program at Maine College of Art & Design since 2010, and formerly taught sculpture at Bowdoin College, the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. She lived in Barcelona, Spain, for three years (2004‐2007) and worked as the Artistic Director of the international art residency program Can Serrat in Montserrat National Park.

Professor Poitras Santos is a respected teacher, curator, collaborator, writer, and artist. Her expanded creative practice comprises installation, video, and site-specific public projects that include a walking component. As a writer, she has focused on walking arts practices, and areas where art and language intersect. The relationship between site, story and mobility fuels a wide range of research and production, including the relationship between natural histories, myth and individual story; walking as a form of listening to site; and material agency in an age of climate change.

Poitras Santos has a BS from Tufts University in Geology and English, and earned her MFA in visual art at the University of Colorado. She also has an MFA in poetry from the Stonecoast Creative Writing Program at the University of Southern Maine.


  • A permanent audio walk created for Kulturföreningen Tornet, as part of Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art Extended, 2019
  • Making Migration Visible: Traces, Tracks & Pathways awarded NEA Art Works Grant, 2018
  • Solo exhibition WALKING BACKWARDS (Birger's Walk), Karlskrona Konsthall, Karlskrona, Sweden
  • Inter Arts Center Residency in 2018 at Lund University, Malmö, Sweden
  • 2016 Kindling Fund grant, Warhol Regional Regranting, Space Gallery for creating
  • PLATFORM PROJECTS/WALKS, a two-week public project investigating walking
  • 2015 Creative Capital “On Our Radar” online citation for ROPE/WALK project
  • Poitras Santos’ solo and collaborative work has been exhibited at the Queens Museum, NY; Bates College Museum of Art; Center for Maine Contemporary Art; Institute for Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design; Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Michigan; the Centre for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona, Spain; Reykjanesbaer Art Museum in Iceland; and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, among others

Julie has practiced the martial art of Aikido since 1991. She has traveled widely, and lived in Spain from 2004–2007. She speaks Spanish and some French. View Julie's website here.

Photography by Kyle Dubay ’18