Theresa Papanikolas

Theresa Papanikolas


CCL Class of 2016


Seattle Art Museum


Ann M. Barwick Curator of American Art

Institution at time of Fellowship

Honolulu Museum of Art


Walters Art Museum


Julia Marciari-Alexander, Walters Art Museum

Theresa Papanikolas, Ph.D. joined the Seattle Art Museum in 2019 as its Ann M. Barwick Curator of American Art. Prior to that, she was Deputy Director of Art and Programs and Curator of European and American Art at the Honolulu Museum of Art, where she led an innovative reinstallation of its holdings in European and American art and organized the exhibitions From Whistler to Warhol: Modernism on Paper (2010), Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: The Hawaiʻi Pictures (2013), Art Deco Hawaiʻi (2014), and Abstract Expressionism: Looking East from the Far West (2017). Through these projects and others she helped position the museum as the cultural hub of one of the country’s most diverse metropolitan areas. She is also the curator of the New York Botanicals 2018 garden-wide summer show, Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawaii.

From 2006 to 2008, Dr. Papanikolas was Wallis Annenberg Curatorial Fellow at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she organized Doctrinal Nourishment: Art and Anarchism in the Time of James Ensor (2008) and helped plan Drawing Surrealism (2012). She has also held positions at Rice University, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. She has expertise in 19th- and 20th-century American art, and has published widely on Dada and Surrealism. She holds degrees in Art History from University of the Southern California (BA) and the University of Delaware (MA, Ph.D.), and has completed a Fellowship at the Center for Curatorial Leadership (2016).

Articles Related to Theresa Papanikolas

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Center for Curatorial Leadership Announces 2016 Fellows

​ Center for Curatorial Leadership Announces Selection of Ninth Class of Curatorial Fellows Twelve Curators to Convene in 2016 for Five Months of Intensive Training   The Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL) has announced its ninth class of curatorial fellows, which includes twelve outstanding individuals from arts organizations in the ... Read More >

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Program Highlights | CCL 2016 Draws To A Close in NYC

Highlights from the Final Week of CCL 2016 The conclusion of the 2016 CCL program took place in New York during the final week of May. Twelve curators—some local, others from as far as Hong Kong, London, and Honolulu—joined CCL in the city for six days of business coursework, meetings ... Read More >

Core Advancement


Theresa Papanikolas (CCL 2016) named Curator of American Art at the Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Art Museum has named Theresa Papanikolas (CCL 2016) as their new Curator of American Art. Theresa participated in the CCL Fellowship in 2016 as Curator of European and American Art at the Honolulu Museum of Art and was later named Deputy Director of Art and Programs. Her most recent exhibition, Georgia O'Keefe: Visions ... Read More >

Core Advancement


Reto Thüring (CCL 2016) and Theresa Papanikolas (CCL 2016) Promoted to Leadership Positions

Curators Reto Thüring and Theresa Papanikolas have each been promoted to positions of greater leadership within their respective institutions. Reto Thüring (CCL 2016) has been named the Chair of Modern, Contemporary, and Decorative Art, and Performing Arts and Curator of Contemporary Art at The Cleveland Museum of Art. Since joining the ... Read More >