Skip to main content

Toledo Museum of Art Appoints Lanisa Kitchiner as Consulting Curator of African Art

Lanisa Kitchiner. Headshot style photo of a black woman smiling with her hair pulled back wearing a magenta-pink top and a beaded necklace.
Lanisa Kitchiner

The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) has named Lanisa S. Kitchiner consulting curator of African art. In this role, she will manage the continued growth of the Museum’s collection of African objects and develop innovative exhibitions in support of the Museum’s ambitious curatorial program.

Kitchiner previously served as director of education and scholarly initiatives, a senior-level role at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art. In this capacity, she developed educational and curatorial initiatives that strengthened and diversified the intellectual, curatorial and outreach efforts of the museum. She oversaw implementation of the largest grant in the history of the unit and established a foundation for acquiring, interpreting and exhibiting under-represented objects in African art. Notably during her tenure, she developed and directed special commissions, collection highlight installations, online exhibitions and innovative public programming.

“Lanisa’s expertise in and advocacy for the art, histories and cultures of Africa and African diasporas is distinguished,” said Adam Levine, the Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey director of the Toledo Museum of Art. “Her experience and passion for presenting innovative and accessible content will have an enormous impact on our efforts to broaden art historical narratives, and we look forward to her curatorial contributions here in Toledo.”

Kitchiner eagerly anticipates joining TMA at such a pivotal time as the Museum endeavors to advance a collecting strategy that represents the entire community. “The opportunity to steward a growing collection of African art at an innovative institution in the heart of the Midwest is extraordinary,” Kitchiner stated. “The Toledo Museum of Art’s commitment to sharing untold stories and fostering widespread community belonging—coupled with its impressive curatorial staff and its unmistakable impact—make it the right place through which to share my passion for the visual arts of Africa.”

Kitchiner’s professional accomplishments also include teaching positions at Howard University and American University. She has published on artists ranging from Jeff Donaldson to Mary Sibande, whose work is featured in the Toledo Museum of Art collection. Most recently, Kitchiner has been co-curating Deconstructing Design: W.E.B. Du Bois at the 1900 World Fair at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper Hewitt Museum. The exhibition, set to open late 2022, examines the enduring power of W.E.B. Du Bois’ groundbreaking data graphics from the Paris World Fair of 1900 documenting the accomplishments and experiences of Black Americans.

Additional contributions to her field include service on the boards of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Modern Languages Association, the Pan African World Heritage Museum (Ghana), the Museum of Black Civilizations (Senegal) and the African Studies Center at Howard University. 

Kitchiner earned her Ph.D. in African studies and research from Howard University and is also an alumna of the 2018 Tate Intensive: Making Space, Holding Space, Giving Space.