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Dr. Stephanie Fox Knappe Promoted to Senior Curator


Dr. Stephanie Fox Knappe Named Sanders Sosland Senior Curator, Global Modern and Contemporary Art and Head, American Art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum

Kansas City, MO. June 1, 2023–The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City has announced Stephanie Fox Knappe, formerly the Samuel Sosland Senior Curator, American Art, has been promoted to Sanders Sosland Senior Curator, Global Modern and Contemporary Art and Head, American Art. Fox Knappe, who has focused her recent scholarly and curatorial work on Modern and Contemporary Art, will also be responsible for the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park. A curatorial assistant will be hired to support work in American, Modern, and Contemporary Art, and a search will be launched for a new curator of American Art, who will report to Fox Knappe.

Portrait of Stephanie Fox Knappe,Sanders Sosland Senior Curator, Global Modern and Contemporary Art and Head, American Art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum“Stephanie has done brilliant work during her stellar career at the Nelson-Atkins,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Director & CEO of the Nelson-Atkins. “This is an exciting opportunity for Stephanie to mentor an emerging talent in American art history, which as a field has seen a tremendous increase in dynamic and diverse new scholars entering the museum world, engaged with the essential questions about the presentation and interpretation of historic American art.”

Fox Knappe shepherded the wildly popular 30 Americans exhibition and has been an integral part of the KC Art Now project, the museum’s initiative to collaborate with local artists and showcase and celebrate the creativity and diversity of our communities. She was responsible for museum acquisitions of important modern American art work by Leonard Pryor, Charles White, Helen Torr, and Doris Lee.

“Stephanie has extensive knowledge of modernism and contemporary art that not only builds upon her academic training, but through her extensive experience as a curator,” said William Keyse Rudolph, Deputy Director, Curatorial Affairs. “She also has deep relationships with the local art communities that help advance the museum’s mission of inclusivity in our collections, installations, and exhibitions.”

Fox Knappe holds a doctoral degree with honors in art history from the University of Kansas, where she taught several courses. She was the exhibition coordinator for the first traveling retrospective exhibition of the work of Aaron Douglas and served as acting curator, European and American painting and sculpture, at the Spencer Museum of Art at KU before joining the curatorial team at the Nelson-Atkins in 2008.

“After years working with the Nelson-Atkins’ impressive historic American collection, I am honored to have the opportunity to engage with, activate, and grow the global modern and contemporary holdings, including those parts of the collection that our visitors experience outside the museum in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park,” said Fox Knappe. “There are so many rich stories to tell and voices to center. I look forward to continuing to learn from and collaborate with artists and art lovers in Kansas City and beyond as well as with a new curator of American art.”

Fox Knappe has published articles and essays on a variety of topics and has contributed to multiple exhibition and collection catalogues including Tales from the Easel: American Narrative Paintings from Southeastern Museums, circa 1800-1950; Aaron Douglas: African American Modernist; and Continuum: Native North American Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. She has served as a juror for multiple exhibitions, including the Heartland Art Guild Miniature Competition, the Thomas Hart Benton Art Exhibition and Competition, and the San Antonio Art League and Museum Annual Exhibition, as well as for The Studios Inc residency in Kansas City. She also served as a mentor with the Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship program from 2014–2022.

Fox Knappe’s promotion allows both continuity and a fresh look for the museum’s acclaimed collections of American, Global Modern and Contemporary Art within the landmark buildings as well as the sculpture park.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America’s finest art museums. The museum opens its doors free of charge to people of all backgrounds.

The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access to its renowned collection of more than 42,000 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and Native American and Egyptian galleries. Housing a major art research library and the Ford Learning Center, the Museum is a key educational resource for the region. In 2017, the Nelson-Atkins celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Bloch Building, a critically acclaimed addition to the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building.

The Nelson-Atkins is located at 45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO. Hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Friday through Monday; 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Thursday; closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission to the museum is free to everyone. For museum information, phone 816.751.1ART (1278) or visit nelson-atkins.org.

For media interested in receiving further information, please contact:

Kathleen Leighton, Manager, Media Relations and Video Production
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art