Nwaka Onwusa, Vice President of Curatorial Affairs & Chief Curator at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is a lover of music and a contemporary bohemian with an old soul. Her knowledge and appreciation of music and art span a vast globe of cultures and histories. Guided by the belief that “the past speaks to us through music and song," Nwaka develops exhibits that are informative, immersive and celebrate the diversity of musical expression.
Hailing from Southern California, Nwaka began her curatorial career at The GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE. There she specialized in exhibition development researching, developing and curating more than 25 unique and memorial exhibits. As curator at the GRAMMY Museum, some of Nwaka’s exhibits and programs included: Jim Marshall’s 1967; Legends of Motown; All Eyez on Me: The Writings of Tupac Shakur; John Lee Hooker: King of The Boogie; Monterey Pop International Music Festival: Music, Love and Flowers, 1967; The Taylor Swift Experience; Jenni Rivera: La Gran Señora; Ringo: Peace and Love, and Bruce W. Talamon: Soul, R&B, And Funk Photographs 1972-1982: A Love Letter to the Music. In addition to exhibits presented at the museum’s campus, Nwaka has also curated satellite and traveling exhibits experienced by audiences across the U.S. and in the UK.
Prior to becoming a curator, Nwaka worked in educational programs committed to inspiring students to explore the arts and museum studies. Nwaka earned a Bachelors in Sociology at UC Riverside and a Masters of Leadership at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy. In 2012, she was honored as a Museum Rising Star by the Museum of African American Art and in April 2018 was selected by American Express to participate in their Women in Music initiative identifying the industry’s rising leaders and was named one of Cleveland’s Most Interesting People of 2020.