Deborah Ziska is a writer, filmmaker, teacher, and museum communications consultant. For two decades, she was the chief of press and public information at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where she began as a publicist in 1988. In 27 years at the Gallery, she managed publicity, advertising, press events, and outreach for hundreds of exhibitions, programs, and announcements; acted as the Gallery’s lead spokesperson; launched social media and Google Arts accounts; and initiated many local, national, and international collaborations. These included the 2003 citywide festival in the nation’s capital—“Blues & Dreams: Celebrating the African American Experience in Washington, D.C.”—inspired by “The Art of Romare Bearden,” the Gallery’s first monographic exhibition of art by an African American.
Prior to the Gallery, Ms. Ziska worked primarily in public and media relations for the End Hunger Network; the Overseas Education Fund; Porter, Novelli, and Associates; the National Commission on Working Women; WUSA-TV (CBS); the American Red Cross; and the Prince George’s County School System, Maryland.
Ms. Ziska is vice-chair of the Marketing and Public Relations Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). She is a pro bono advisor to the Art Museum of the Americas, Organization of American States. Honors include the Public Relations Society of America’s 2004 Silver Anvil Award of Excellence for Multicultural Public Relations and Advertising Age’s “Top Marketing 100″ in 1998, as well as awards in the 1990s for crisis communications and attendance generation from the American Association of Museums (now the American Alliance of Museums). Her essay, “American Protest,” is included in the book, “Deep Beauty: Experiencing Wonder When the World is on Fire,” published by Woodhall Press in 2020.
Ms. Ziska has served as a trainer and speaker in museum marketing and communications at workshops and seminars in Hungary, Ukraine, Russia, and Spain. In 2018, she helped organize North American participation in a regional museums conference in Quito, Ecuador, focused on museum economic and environmental sustainability. She travels throughout the Americas videotaping interviews and gathering content for her class, “Museums of the Americas: Facing Challenges in the 21st Century.” She speaks online and throughout the world on global museum issues and trends.
Ms. Ziska studied studio art at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, and earned a B.S. in advertising design with areas of concentration in radio/TV/film and art history from the University of Maryland, College Park. She studied telecommunications policy in the graduate program at George Washington University, Washington, D.C.