The Mississippi Museum of Art announced Ryan N. Dennis as the new chief curator and artistic director of its Center for Art & Public Exchange. Dennis joins the MMA from her role as curator and programs director at Project Row House and officially starts her new position in June 2020.
The Mississippi Museum of Art (MMA) in Jackson, announced new curatorial appointments this week. Following a national search, the museum named Ryan N. Dennis, chief curator and artistic director of the Center for Art & Public Exchange (CAPE).
Dennis will lead the museum’s curatorial team, organizing exhibitions and related public programming and overseeing acquisitions. She is also charged with initiating new ways to connect with and expand audiences through partnerships and collaborations and initiatives that extend the art experience beyond the confines of the museum and into the community.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Mississippi Museum of Art at this moment in time. The MMA is doing important work around restitution, engagement, and visioning new futures for the local and national community. I look forward to bringing my experiences from Project Row Houses into a museum setting because it allows me to push the boundaries of what museums traditionally have done,” Dennis said in a statement.
In her statement the MMA Director Betsy Bradley says: “We are excited to further strengthen the Museum’s program and forge new paths together—connecting art, artists, and visitors with a goal of giving voice to and generating opportunities for the critical work of reckoning with the past, engaging with one another in the present, and envisioning a future without division.”
Ryan N. Dennis comes from her role as the Curator and Programs Director at Project Row Houses. Her work focuses on African-American contemporary art with an emphasis on socially-engaged practices, site-specific projects, public interventions, and the development of public-facing programs for adults and youth. She is deeply interested in the intersection of art and social justice while creating equitable opportunities for artists to thrive in their work.
Prior to her role at PRH, she worked at the Museum for African Art in New York City as the traveling exhibition manager. Her curatorial credits have included El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You about Africa, Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria and Jane Alexander: Surveys (from the Cape of Good Hope). Dennis has served as a community organizer and a curatorial assistant at The Menil Collection in Houston. She has been a visiting lecturer and critic at a number of art schools and institutions and has taught courses on community-based practices and contemporary art at the University of Houston.