Meta's headquarters in Menlo Park, with works by local artists on display (via Meta)

As mass layoffs ravage the tech industry, Meta (the parent company of Facebook) has cut staff in its Open Arts program, a relatively small team that commissions installations for its office buildings across the world as well as art for its digital platforms.

Meta laid off 11,000 people last week (about 13% of its workers), including senior employees at Open Arts. Chief Curator Matthew Israel announced his termination on November 12 on LinkedIn, stating he was let go along with “most of my (awesome) Open Arts organization.” The strategic partnerships manager and communications and content strategist also used the networking platform to announce their terminations, and the strategy and operations lead posted a comment alluding to the end of her time at the company as well.

Although it is unclear how many people worked for Open Arts before the layoffs, Artnet reported in February of this year that the team comprised around 25 full-time employees and 25 contractors. Many of the workers have posted about their layoffs, but it does not appear that Meta has cut the program entirely: Open Arts lead Tina Vaz, who led communications at the Solomon H. Guggenheim Foundation before starting at Meta in 2019, still appears to head Open Arts and commented kind statements on her colleagues’ posts.

Open Arts worked on projects including a May artificial intelligence exhibition by artist Sofia Crespo in Times Square, shows at their worldwide office buildings (including installations at their New York offices at Moynihan Train Hall and the Farley Building), and a 2020 commission by artist Troy Lamarr Chew II comprising artworks encouraging people to vote, with QR codes linking to Facebook’s voting information center.

“This goodbye is also tough because it’s left me with myriad dreams deferred,” wrote former strategic programs manager Rafael Flores in his November 10 LinkedIn announcement. “It’s the first time I’ve left a role thinking: ‘But there is so much more I want to do!'”

A Meta spokesperson reached by Hyperallergic said the company declined to comment for this article.

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Elaine Velie

Elaine Velie is a writer from New Hampshire living in Brooklyn. She studied Art History and Russian at Middlebury College and is interested in art's role in history, culture, and politics.

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