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Meet the Art Center's new Senior Curator Alison Ferris

Posted on Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Alison FerrisAs you may have heard, the Des Moines Art Center is extremely excited to welcome a new curator to its staff. While you'll likely meet her during a member preview or see her at an artist lecture soon, we wanted to take a moment to introduce everyone to Alison Ferris, the Art Center's new senior curator.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What did you do before coming to the Des Moines Art Center?

A: I grew up in Troy, New York. I spent the last 20 years in Maine—where I raised my now college-aged daughters—so that’s the place I consider “home.” But now it will be Des Moines!  Before accepting the position here I spent about ten years working as a curator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin and twelve years at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Maine.

Q: How did you decide the Des Moines Art Center was a good fit for you?

A: I’ve been paying attention to the exhibitions generated by the Des Moines Art Center for years. The Art Center first came on my radar when Jeff Fleming landed there—he’s a curator whose work I’ve always admired. So the combination of Jeff as the director, the exhibition program focusing on contemporary art, and the incredible permanent collection indicated to me that this would be a dream job!
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

A: I love movies, I’m a voracious reader, and I treasure the time I have with my busy girls. I also like to learn about and explore new places. I can’t wait to start traveling around Iowa as well as some of the states west of here—such as Nebraska and the Dakotas—because I’ve never been there.

Q: What has surprised you most about Des Moines so far?

A: I have been pleasantly surprised to see the ways the community embraces contemporary art and architecture! The new Jim Campbell sculpture downtown is spectacular.
Q: Tell us something “entirely unexpected” about yourself that our members might not know.

A: I am a prodigious lover of animals and right now, my dog Patty—who is a Saint Bernard/Australian Shepherd mix—is getting the bulk of my attention when I’m home.

entirely unexpected