Karen Comer Lowe has been named inaugural curator-in-residence at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. In this new role, Lowe will connect the museum program with the Atlanta University Center Art History and Curatorial Studies Collective, organizing exhibitions and engaging students about curatorial practice. Her 12-month appointment began June 16.

Lowe was executive director and chief curator at Hammonds House Museum from June 2021 until January 2022, when the museum’s board abruptly eliminated her position. Since then, she has been consulting with museums and galleries in Atlanta.

As a consultant, Lowe co-curated Silver Linings: Celebrating the Spelman Art Collection with the museum’s executive director Dr. Liz Andrews. The exhibit is on view through June 30.

“Co-curating this exhibit with Dr. Andrews was a great opportunity and she was so easy to work with,” Lowe said. “My independent consulting had been going really well, but Spelman has such a great reputation.”

Adds Lowe: “I was surprised to see the breadth and depth of the Spelman collection. It is focused on Black women artists but includes work by many well-known male artists as well. I am excited about being in a place that respects the scholarship, research and presentation of Black art.”

Andrews and Lowe met earlier this year when Andrews visited Hammonds House to view Exhibiting Culture: Highlights from the Hammonds House Museum Collection, curated by Lowe.

“Karen’s dedication to Black artists and the cultural community of Atlanta make her a perfect fit for the only museum in the nation dedicated to art by and about women of the African diaspora,” said Andrews in a press release.

For more than 20 years, Lowe has worked in curatorial and education positions at museums, galleries and arts institutions. She has held positions at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Tubman Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. A lecturer and art advisor, she has worked with such notable artists as Hank Willis Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems, Radcliffe Bailey and Elizabeth Catlett.

In spring 2022, Lowe curated This Is America | The Unsettling Contradictions in American Identity, the first solo exhibition of works by Genevieve Gaignard at the Atlanta Contemporary.





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