JCCC taps experienced art curator JoAnne Northrup to lead Nerman Museum and follow in founder’s footsteps

JoAnne Northrup

Johnson County Community College has named JoAnne Northrup the new executive director and chief curator of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. Northrup comes to the Nerman from the Nevada Museum of Contemporary Art, her latest stop in a 30-year career in the international art world. Photo courtesy Johnson County Community College.

Johnson County Community College’s Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art now has a new executive director and chief curator.

JoAnne Northrup, previously the curatorial director at the Nevada Museum of Art, is filling the vacant position six months after Bruce Hartman — who had a 30-year career at JCCC and established the museum in 2007 — retired.

Hartman said in a press release that he is “elated” that Northrup is taking over.

“Her extraordinary curatorial experience, keen eye, intellectual fervor and generosity of spirit will be invaluable to the museum, college and community,” Hartman said in a press release. “She is a fantastic addition to our region’s distinguished group of museum directors and professionals.”

Northrup already has 30 years of experience under her belt.

She has worked in nine museums in the U.S. and Europe, and was the curator of exhibits and collections at the De Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University in California, according to the release.

Previously, Northrup dabbled in the Kansas City-area art scene with a curated “touring survey of exhibitions and monographs on contemporary media artists Jennifer Steinkamp and Leo Villareal,” according to the release.

Villareal’s exhibit was featured at the Nerman in 2011, while Steinkamp’s came through the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo., in 2007.

Northrup said Nerman’s values align with her own, and she’s proud to step into the chief curator and executive director role.

“I have admired the Nerman’s program for many years, especially the emphasis on diversity that is part of this institution’s DNA,” Northrup said in the release. “Not only does the Nerman have a record of presenting the work of contemporary artists in advance of their achieving renown in the art world, my esteemed predecessor has always exhibited and collected work by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) and women artists.”