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Jessica May | Executive Director

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Executive Director

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art has named Jessica May as the Executive Director. 

As Executive Director, Jessica brings to the Kemper Museum two decades of experience working with artists and communities at influential museums and institutions across the United States. Her appointment coincides with a period of expansion for the museum, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2024. She is eager to build on the museum’s stellar artistic program and existing partnerships, as well as seek out new collaborations with creative communities.

Jessica most recently served as Vice President, Art and Exhibitions for The Trustees of Reservations, the nation’s oldest land conservation organization, and the Artistic Director of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts. During her time in this dual role, she demonstrated her dedication to engaging art and the environment, overseeing arts initiatives at the deCordova as well as across the Trustees’ statewide network of over 120 scenic and historic places.

Jessica is co-author of the upcoming publication, Second Nature: Photography in the Age of the Anthropocene (Rizzoli). She previously served at the Portland Museum of Art, in Maine, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. 

She graduated from Barnard College and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Sarah James led this search with Annah Wells and Siobhan Hanley.