Alison Ferris

Alison Ferris


CCL Class of 2018


Des Moines Art Center


Director of Curatorial Affairs / Senior Curator


Art Institute of Chicago


James Rondeau, Art Institute of Chicago

Alison Ferris, Senior Curator at the Des Moines Art Center, has been a curator of contemporary art for more than 20 years. Ferris directs the curatorial, registration, and installation departments that produce approximately 15 exhibitions per year and oversee the care and conservation of the 5,500 object collection including 28 works in the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. She works closely with the director on acquisitions and is also part of the leadership team that guides the vision of the Art Center.

Joining the Art Center in February 2016, Ferris reinstalled the permanent collection and curated two major 2017 exhibitions: RupturesandDrawing in Space. Currently she is organizing the first major solo exhibitions in the United States for British artist Susan Collis (2019) and Scottish artist Karla Black (2020). Ferris is committed to supporting art by women and people-of-color and frequently works with international artists who have installation, photography, and material-based practices.

Prior to her appointment at the Art Center, Ferris was Curator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Ferris holds an M.A. in Art History from Binghamton University, N.Y. and a B.A. in Art History from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

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