BMA Hires New Curator of American Art

The Birmingham Museum of Art announces Katelyn D. Crawford, Ph.D., as its new William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art. Crawford currently serves as assistant curator of American art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri and will join the BMA this summer. She succeeds Graham C. Boettcher, Ph.D., who was appointed deputy director of the Birmingham Museum of Art in 2016, and who will continue to serve under the new title of James Milton and Sallie R. Johnson Deputy Director.

In her new role, Crawford will oversee the Museum’s permanent collection of American art, which currently exceeds 3,000 works.

“We are thrilled to add Katelyn to our talented team of curators, as we work to provide our community with more meaningful, relevant, and engaging art experiences,” says Gail Andrews, R. Hugh Daniel Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art. “Katelyn’s proven ability to create dynamic narratives among works of art and the intentionality with which she connects art to modern culture and sensibilities are impressive, and she will be a great asset to the BMA as we continue to adapt to meet the interests of our audiences.”

Since 2014, Crawford has served as assistant curator of American art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, where, in conjunction with the Samuel Sosland Curator of American Art, she is responsible for curating and developing of the museum’s collection of American art from the eighteenth century through World War II.

“I am delighted to join the Birmingham Museum of Art’s exceptional team,” says Crawford. “I admire the museum’s world-class collections, expansive programming, and commitment to the City of Birmingham. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to tell the story of American art in a city that so passionately supports its museum.”

During her time at Nelson-Atkins, Crawford was the organizing curator for two exhibitions of American art. She produced the current exhibition The 1930s in Prints: A Gift to Kansas City from The Woodcut Society, 33 woodcuts, wood engravings, and linocuts from the permanent collection. In 2016, she curated Drip, Splatter, Wash: American Watercolor, 1860–1960, an exhibition of 24 works on paper from the permanent collection complemented with the installation of 5 watercolors, which were presented in focused dialogue with objects in the surrounding American permanent collection galleries. In addition, she was a curatorial team member for the Nelson-Atkins presentation of American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood, the first major exhibition of works on Thomas Hart Benton in more than 25 years.

Prior to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Crawford held many fellowship and research positions including: Visiting Scholar at Yale Center for British Art (2014); Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art (2013–2014); Andrew Oliver Fellowship at the Massachusetts Historical Society (2013); Terra Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (2012–2013); Research Fellowship at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (2012); and the Presidential Fellowship, University of Virginia (2008–2012).

Crawford received B.A. in American History and Art History from Columbia University in 2006, and earned her M.A. in the History of Art and Architecture from the University of Virginia in 2010. She completed her Ph.D. in the History of Art and Architecture from the University of Virginia this month.