Jade Powers joined the Harn’s curatorial team as Curator of Contemporary Art on April 1, 2022. In this role, she directs the growth and development of the Harn’s contemporary art collection of more than 2,000 works by global artists. The collection includes sculpture, photography, painting, prints, multi-media, film, and installation.

Prior to assuming her current position at the Harn in April 2022, she was the assistant curator at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. There she spearheaded the first exhibition spotlighting a Native artist in the Kemper Museum’s history as well as the acquisition of the first work by a Native artist since 1995. She also co-curated The Regional, the first major multi-museum survey dedicated to contemporary artists based in the Midwest. Highlighted original exhibitions include Seven Poses: A Gift Fit for a Queen (2022), Dyani White Hawk: Speaking to Relatives (2021), Inspired: Innovation, Pop Culture, and Material (2021), Joiri Minaya: Divergences (2020), Child’s Play: An Exploration of Adolescence (2019), Abstracted Wonders: The Power of Lines (2018), and Deconstructing Marcus Jansen (2018).

Powers regularly lectures on contemporary art, curation, and professional development for emerging artists and has been a visiting critic at Washington University St. Louis, University of Kansas, and the Kansas City Art Institute, the visiting lecturer in the graduate studio art department at the University of Kansas (2020-2021), and a juror for several artist awards. She was also a member of the inaugural class of the Association of Art Museum Curators’ Professional Alliance for Curators of Color.

From 2017-2018 she served as the Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellow at the Saint Louis Art Museum. There, Powers created the first museum-wide gallery guide to comprehensively highlight works by artists of African descent and began research for the 2019 exhibition, Shape of Abstraction: Selections from the Ollie Collection, highlighting a gift to the Saint Louis Art Museum of over 80 abstract works by artists of African descent. She has also been a featured writer in several catalogues including 2019 Charlotte Street Visual Artists Awards (2019), Dyani White-Hawk: Speaking to Relatives (2021), The Regional (2021), and Lamerol A. Gatewood (2021).

Powers studied art history, religious studies, and post-colonial theory at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN and Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. With a focus on post-colonial theory, Powers facilitates exhibitions that highlight underrepresented voices and works to create dialogue to allow for a more well-rounded understanding of world histories.

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