Ryan N. Dennis

Ryan N. Dennis


CCL/SMH 2021-2023


Contemporary Arts Museum Houston


Senior Curator and Director of Public Initiatives

Institution at time of Fellowship

Mississippi Museum of Art

Ryan N. Dennis currently serves as the as the Senior Curator and Director of Public Initiatives at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. Previousely, she was the Chief Curator and Artistic Director of the Center for Art & Public Exchange (CAPE) at the Mississippi Museum of Art (MMA). Most recently, Dennis co-curated, with Jessica Bell Brown, the critically acclaimed exhibition, A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration, currently on view at Brooklyn Museum and traveling nationwide through 2024. Her recent projects include Leonardo Drew’s City in the Garden (2020), Betye Saar: Call & Response (2021), Dusti Bonge: Piercing the Inner Wall (2021) and organizing CAPE artist-in-residence Shani Peter’s Collective Care for Black Mothers and Caretakers (2022) with the local Jackson community. Before joining MMA, she served as the Curator and Programs Director at Project Row Houses (PRH) in Houston, where she worked with over 100 BIPOC artists to exhibit their work in PRH’s shotgun houses. She led the creation of the 2:2:2 Exchange Residency Program with the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago and established Project/Site, a temporary, site-specific, commission-based public art program. In 2017, she launched the PRH Fellowship with the Center for Art and Social Engagement at the University of Houston’s Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts. Dennis earned her Master’s degree in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute, focusing on Curatorial Practice. Her writings have appeared in online and print catalogs, journals, and international publications. She has been a visiting lecturer and critic at numerous art schools and institutions and has taught courses on community-based practices and contemporary art at the University of Houston. Dennis was a Class of 2019 Fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership, a program that offers leadership training to art museum curators. Recently she was the co-curator of the 2021 Texas Biennial, A New Landscape, A Possible Horizon (2021), and the guest art editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts.

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