The Mississippi Museum of Art (MMA) has hired Ryan N. Dennis as chief curator and artistic director of its Center for Art and Public Exchange (CAPE) and Holly R. Harrison as its new deputy director for art and programs. Both Dennis and Harrison will take up their posts in April.

“On behalf of the museum’s board of trustees and staff, we are delighted to welcome Ryan and Holly to MMA. Each has exceptional professional experience and track records developing innovative ideas and implementing creative solutions,” said museum director Betsy Bradley. “Together with our colleagues, the museum will continue to reveal and illuminate new narratives about Mississippi.”

Dennis comes to the institution from the Project Row Houses in Houston, where she has served as curator and programs director since 2017. During her tenure at the community-based nonprofit, Dennis worked with her colleagues to use art to amplify community networks, develop and apply creative solutions to local issues, and highlight art, culture, history, and preservation in the city’s Third Ward. Previously, she was the traveling exhibition and artists-in-residence manager at the Museum for African Art (now the Africa Center) in New York and a curatorial assistant at the Menil Collection in Houston.

Harrison brings with her nearly fifteen years of professional experience in the cultural sector. She joins MMA after serving for five years as program associate for arts and cultural heritage at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York, where she established multiple professional training programs for emerging Native American arts professionals and supported curatorial research projects and the development of exhibitions of Native American art. Harrison previously held positions in the curatorial departments at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Dallas Museum of Art.

Commenting on her new role, Harrison said: “I am drawn to MMA because of its dedication to lifting up marginalized histories, centering artists’ voices, making room for new narratives, and growing with its communities. After several years with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, I am particularly excited to return to an art museum—this art museum—and I look forward to working with the talented staff and board, spectacular collection, and the extraordinary community of Jackson.”


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