Brooke Davis Anderson
Museum Director | Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts | Philadelphia, PA

Brooke Davis Anderson is the Museum Director at PAFA, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, a position she has held since 2017. In this role Anderson is responsible for building the permanent collection and originating exhibitions for the first art museum in America: central to her leadership is expanding and making elastic the American art story to more fully include women artists and artists of color: ArtNet recently published articles delineating how PAFA is leading the way, nationally, in its acquisitions of artists of color and women. Anderson was recently honored by Rush Philanthropic Arts with an award for her dedication to diversity in the arts. 

Prior to moving to Philadelphia Anderson was the fourth Executive Director of Prospect New Orleans/U.S. Biennial (2013-2017) where she successfully implemented Prospect.3 and jump-started Prospect.4, all while making the organization debt free for the first time in its history (She closed the debt from Prospect.1, Prospect.1.5 and Prospect.2 while preparing for Prospect.4). Brooke also moved all operations from NYC to New Orleans with the belief that the project would be better poised for success if it emanated from its host city, and changed the project from a biennial to triennial. 

From 2010 to 2012 Anderson was the inaugural Deputy Director of Curatorial Planning at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In this role, Anderson oversaw the Watts Towers Conservation and Community Collaboration, and the Curatorial Diversity Initiative, a Mellon-funded pilot program aiming to change the demographics of professionals in museums across the nation. Both of these celebrated programs are flourishing ten years later. From 1999 to 2010, Anderson was founding Director and Curator of The Contemporary Center at the American Folk Art Museum in New York, where she curated countless exhibitions (most notably projects on Martin Ramirez, Henry Darger, and other contemporary self-taught artists), authored several books and numerous articles, and led the $1 million acquisition of the Henry Darger Study Center: an effort supported largely by individual donors. Here, Brooke continued her commitment to demonstrating the porous nature of art history and made work by self-taught artists central to the NYC discourse. She has been an Assistant Professor at the following institutions – Columbia University, City College of New York, and Winston-Salem State University. 

From 1992-1999 Anderson was the first full-time director of the Diggs Gallery at Winston-Salem State University, where she tripled the budget, audience, programming, and publicity. During her tenure in North Carolina she was recognized by the Chronicle Newspaper as “Curator of African American Art,” and was honored by an endowment established in her name to ensure the museum’s future.

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