SJMA Appoints Lauren Schell Dickens Curator

Release date 
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

SAN JOSE, California (March 18, 2016)— The San Jose Museum of Art has appointed Lauren Schell Dickens as curator. Dickens is currently curatorial consultant at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and was previously assistant curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. She will join the staff at SJMA on April 18.

“Lauren’s interests and values as a curator are such a close match for SJMA’s mission and vision. She has undertaken a wide variety of inventive projects with contemporary artists and has an equally impressive track record of scholarship,” said Susan Krane, Oshman Executive Director. “Lauren’s personal dedication to making contemporary art accessible to broad audiences, her global perspective, and her belief in fostering artistic experimentation across disciplines make her a wonderful addition to SJMA’s dynamic curatorial team. We look forward to the ideas, energy, and projects she will bring to our community.”

"I'm drawn to SJMA for its collaborative and experimental approach to exhibitions, its dedication to community building, and its embrace of art that is at turns fun, thought provoking, and topically challenging," said Dickens. "As a Bay Area native, I'm thrilled to be returning to support such a diverse and global arts community, and can't wait to start working with the ambitious team at SJMA."

Dickens has been at the National Gallery of Art since 2014, where she assisted with the exhibition and online catalogue for The Serial Impulse: Gemini G.E.L. As assistant curator at the Corcoran from 2012 to 2014, she curated exhibitions such as Hank Willis Thomas’s Question Bridge: Black Males and How is the World? Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Photography, and worked on projects and performances with artists such as iona ROZEAL brown, Mary Coble, Mia Feuer, Andrea Fraser, and Ellen Harvey. She has also held curatorial posts at the Jewish Museum, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Dallas Museum of Art, and has organized programs with a broad range of arts organizations including Kunsthalle Galapagos, Brooklyn, New York; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, New York; ISE Cultural Foundation, New York, and Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland, California. 

Dickens holds a BA in American Studies from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and a MA in Modern Art: Critical Studies from Columbia University, New York. She was born in San Jose and grew up in Sonoma County. 


The San Jose Museum of Art celebrates new ideas, stimulates creativity, and inspires connection with every visit. Welcoming and thought-provoking, the Museum rejects stuffiness and delights visitors with its surprising and playful perspective on the art and artists of our time. Its exhibition program focuses on modern and contemporary visual art, architecture, and design and encourages global perspectives, diversity, and multidisciplinary thinking. Innovative collaborations provide opportunities for artists to create new works, incubate new ideas, and connect with the community and its resources. Recent exhibitions include Postdate: Photography and Inherited History in India; Beta Space: Diana Thater; and Around the Table: food, creativity, community. SJMA is currently presenting the cross disciplinary exhibition Border Cantos: Richard Misrach | Guillermo Galindo (through July 26) and Tabaimo: Her Room, the first major US museum exhibition for the acclaimed Japanese artist (through August 21). 

The San Jose Museum of Art's permanent collection includes approximately 2,500 modern and contemporary artworks with particular strengths in photography; contemporary realism; new-media art; political art; and Bay Area art; with recent additions that reflect the diversity of Silicon Valley. Artists represented include Robert Arneson, Ruth Asawa, Sandow Birk, Joan Brown, Jim Campbell, Enrique Chagoya, Jay DeFeo, Eric Fischl, Jitish Kallat, Hung Liu Louise Nevelson, Tony Oursler, Catherine Opie, Alan Rath, Ben Rubin and Mark Hanson, Jennifer Steinkamp, Masami Teraoka, Diana Thater, Leo Villareal, and William T. Wiley.

 SJMA is located at 110 South Market Street in downtown San Jose, California. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 AM to 5 PM and until 8 PM or later on the third Thursday of each month. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 65+, $6 for students, and $5 for youth ages 7 -18. Members and children ages 5 and under are admitted free. For more information, call 408-271-6840 or visit


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Programs at the San Jose Museum of Art are made possible by generous operating support from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, Yvonne and Mike Nevens, The Lipman Family Foundation, and a Cultural Affairs grant from the City of San Jose.