Georgia Museum of Art adds curator for African-American, African art

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Shawnya L. Harris has been appointed as the first Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens. CONTRIBUTED BY GMOA
Shawnya L. Harris has been appointed as the first Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens. CONTRIBUTED BY GMOA

Shawnya L. Harris has been appointed as the first Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens. CONTRIBUTED BY GMOA

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens has appointed Shawnya L. Harris as its first Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art.

Beauford Delany's Portrait of Imogene Delaney, a 1963 oil on canvas, is part of the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection of African American Art at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens.

Beauford Delany’s Portrait of Imogene Delaney, a 1963 oil on canvas, is part of the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection of African American Art at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens.

Harris, who began work in mid-August, came from North Carolina’s Elizabeth City State University, where she taught courses in African-American art, 20th-century art and art appreciation as well as survey courses on the history of Western art.

She also taught at UNC Chapel Hill and Middle Tennessee State University, and served as director of the University Galleries at North Carolina A&T State University for eight years.

Harris has organized exhibitions focused on artists John Wilson, James McMillan, Joyce Wellman, Joseph Holston and Richard Hunt.

The Thompsons made the initial gift toward the endowment that funds Harris’ position (an endowed chair and an endowed professorship) when they donated a major collection of works of art by African-American artists to the museum in 2012.

Both husband and wife have ties to UGA. Larry Thompson, a former U.S. deputy attorney general based in Atlanta, rejoined the law school at UGA this fall as the John A. Sibley Professor in Corporate and Business Law. Brenda Thompson, a longtime arts patron, is chair-elect of the Georgia Museum of Art’s Board of Advisors.


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