Curator of African Art - New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) was founded in 1910 when Isaac Delgado offered a gift to the City of New Orleans to create a “temple of art for rich and poor alike.” The museum, a neoclassical building, designed by Samuel Marx, opened to the public in 1911 as the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art at the main entrance to City Park. Today over 100 years later, NOMA has become the premier art museum in the Gulf South. An expansion in the 1970s tripled the size of the museum and in the mid-1980s the museum expanded once again. In 1989, the Board of Trustees voted to change the museum’s name to the New Orleans Museum of Art and a state of-the-art-facility of over 130,000 square feet reopened to the public in 1993. 

NOMA has 46 galleries housing an outstanding permanent collection. Comprised of nearly 50,000 objects, the installations and exhibitions represent historical periods from the Italian Renaissance to the best of the contemporary world. A wealth of American and European art—French, in particular—make up much of the collection. Louisiana artists are also well represented, and the museum has 19th-21st century American and European photography, ceramics, and glass from cultures around the globe, plus outstanding holdings in African, pre-Columbian and Spanish period work, as well as Asian art, especially Japanese painting. In addition, the museum offers a year-round schedule of traveling and special exhibitions, events, tours, school and public programs.

In 2003, the 5-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture garden opened, and today there are 64 permanently installed sculptures including works by Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Claes Oldenberg, Louise Bourgeois, Do Ho Suh, Anish Kapoor, to name only a few. In early 2018, the museum broke ground on a six-acre expansion to the garden. The expansion will have sites for 24 additional sculptures, as well as an outdoor amphitheater and stage, pedestrian bridges and walkways, a new gallery, and an outdoor learning environment. The Museum anticipates completion in early 2019. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden is always free to all visitors and represents a commitment to engage the broadest possible audiences for NOMA.

The Museum’s exhibition program is both active and versatile, bringing significant national touring exhibitions to New Orleans and distinguished exhibitions organized by its curatorial staff. Current exhibitions include Lee Friedlander: American Musicians; Carlos Rolon: Outside/In; A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes and Orientalism: Taking and Making with objects from the permanent collection. 

Governed by a Board of Trustees, the Museum is a private institution created for the public good. NOMA serves almost 300,000 visitors annually and currently employs 87 staff members.


NOMA is committed to preserving, presenting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.


Considered one of the most important assemblages of this material in a public museum in the United States, the collection began with a single donation in 1953.  NOMA’s 1970 purchase of a monumental veranda post for the palace at Ikere by Olowe of Ise set the standard for future acquisitions, and the Victor K. Kiam bequest, in 1977, of 140 fine works of African art, brought the collection national recognition. Selections from the collection, which now includes over 500 works of art, are presented in a dedicated, 2500 square-foot gallery on the museum’s third floor. 

NOMA’s collection is strongest in work from west and central Africa, particularly the Igbo, Yoruba, Benin, Ijo, and Ibibio peoples in Nigeria and the Chokwe peoples in Angola. Among the Yoruba objects are three rare sculptures by the renowned master carver Olowe of Ise and two by Areogun of Osi-Ilorin.  The collection also features an 18th century shrine figure of Onile, one of seven extant large copper alloys from the Osugbo Society. Other major strengths are works from the Djenne, Bamana, Dogon, Baule, Fang, Tabwa, Luba, and Bembe peoples. Highlights of the collection were most recently published in Ancestors of Congo Square: African Art in the New Orleans Museum of Art (2011).

NOMA has a long history of exhibiting the art and artists of Africa. The first exhibition, Spotlight on Africa, held in 1952, was followed in 1955 by a presentation of Helena Rubenstein’s collection. Since that time NOMA has presented numerous major exhibitions devoted to the arts of Africa, including African Art of the Dogon: The Lester Wunderman Collection (1973), Art of Zaire: 100 Masterworks from the National Collection (1978), The Art of Cameroon (1984), Yoruba: Nine Centeruries of African Art and Thought (1991), and most recently,  Kongo Across the Waters (2015). With a dedicated curator of African art since 1966, NOMA has also organized exhibitions of varying scales, including Shapes of Power, Belief and Celebration: African Art from New Orleans Collections (1989), Roots of American Jazz: African Musical Instruments from New Orleans Collections (1995) and the nationally touring exhibition Resonance of the Past: African Sculpture from the New Orleans Museum of Art, guest-curated by Frank Herreman and coordinated with the Museum for African Art in New York. 


The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) seeks a motivated, innovative and collegial curator of African art who will oversee and manage the museum’s significant collection of traditional African art. S/he will work collaboratively with the other curators and exhibition team to develop a creative, strategic vision for exhibitions; engage in cultivation and fundraising activities; and generate and carry out original ideas for exhibitions.  The Curator will be expected to collaborate with other departments to encourage interdisciplinary activity; work in a collegial and collaborative manner with peers in education, development, marketing/public relations. This individual will be knowledgeable about museum exhibitions and auctions of African art in the United States and Europe.  The position reports to the chief curator.

Essential Job Functions:

• Establish priorities for collections research, acquisition, exhibition development, installation, interpretive strategies and programming.

•  Participate in a full range of scholarly and public programming activities, as well as in the cultivation and stewardship of collectors and donors.

•  Excellent written and oral communication skills. 

•  Ability to work in a highly collaborative environment. 

•  Ability to manage multiple projects.

•  Fully engage a variety of constituencies in historical African art.

•  Proficiency in English is required, fluency in French and/or German encouraged. 

•  Familiarity with collections databases (NOMA uses Mimsy XG) and digital asset management systems, such as Piction, as well facility with word-processing and other usual computing software.


•  A Master’s degree with a specialization in the history of traditional African art is required, a Ph.D. preferred. It is expected that the candidate will have expertise in areas that parallel the collection’s strengths.

•  3-5 years of curatorial experience with demonstrable experience in the creation of exhibitions, acquisitions, scholarly achievement and collaborative programming. 


The position will offer a competitive salary and an excellent benefits package.


Summer/Fall 2018


Applicants should send a letter of interest, a current CV, references, a writing sample and a list of publications to:   

Management Consultants for the Arts
Attn: Diane Frankel

Email only: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject line: NOMA – African Art 

Last modified on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 23:21