Hammonds House Museum names new executive director

Karen Comer Lowe was named the new executive director and chief curator of Hammonds House Museum in June.
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Karen Comer Lowe was named the new executive director and chief curator of Hammonds House Museum in June.

Credit: Joeff Davis

Karen Comer Lowe is a veteran of the national, local arts scenes.

Atlanta native and national arts veteran Karen Comer Lowe has been named executive director and chief curator of Hammonds House Museum, one of a handful of Atlanta institutions dedicated to Black art.

Comer Lowe, who was most recently manager and chief curator of the Chastain Arts Center begins her new position at the West End museum this month. She succeeds Leatrice Ellzy Wright, who left Hammonds House at the end of May for a programming director position at the Apollo Theater in New York.

“I am delighted to welcome Karen Comer Lowe as our incoming Executive Director and Chief Curator,” Imara Canady, board president of Hammonds House Museum, said in a statement. “Her deep knowledge of Black visual arts, expertise in arts administration, ability to engage with diverse audiences, commitment to arts education, and bold vision for our future, make her the right person to follow the trajectory we are on and take the museum to the next level.”

Comer Lowe began her early career at Hammonds House in the late 1990s as programming director. She went on to work at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery, the Tubman African American Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In recent years she has been a key part of Atlanta’s arts scene as a respected curator, both public and private. She has worked with artists such as Amy Sherald, portraitist for Michelle Obama, photographer Carrie Mae Weems and famed sculptor Elizabeth Catlett.

Like many small museums and galleries, Hammonds House was hit hard by the pandemic. Its doors have been shuttered since last March, but it has continued to offer virtual exhibitions. Comer Lowe will be faced with helping the museum regain its footing and expand its vision moving forward, a challenge she said she looks forward to.

“As an Atlanta-native and passionate arts professional, I am pleased to return to Hammonds House Museum as Executive Director and Chief Curator,” Comer Lowe said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing the long history of presenting and exhibiting artists of the Diaspora and welcoming all to the museum when we reopen to the public.”