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Dr. Amanda Maples Is a Force in African Art Curation

In the few years since earning her BA degree in Anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Amanda Maples has already had an impressive career in the Arts. Prior to beginning the graduate program in Visual Studies at UC Santa Cruz’s History of Art and Visual Culture department (HAVC), she was an established force in the field of African art. 

Dr. Maples was a content coordinator with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art and assistant curator at the Yale University Art Gallery, and had edited or co-authored two major book-length publications. When she realized she needed a PhD to move forward in the museum work, she applied to the program at UCSC, receiving her PhD in 2018. 

While she was a graduate student, she also was the Cantor Art Center Curatorial Fellow in African and Indigenous American Arts at Stanford University (2017-18) and curated three major exhibitions. “Although she has only been out of the program for two years, Dr. Maples is among an elite group of American curators who are enacting major changes in how museums work and especially revising the presentation of African art in a museum context,” said HAVC Chair and Professor Elisabeth Cameron, Dr. Maples’ graduate advisor.

When she attained her PhD, Dr. Maples accepted the position of curator of African Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art. One of her recent exhibitions, Good as Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women, was given an excellent review by renowned New York Times art critic Holland Coller and it has been very well received by the press and public. In addition, Dr. Maples was interviewed by Nurith Aizenman on NPR.

Dr. Maples, who is originally from North Carolina, expressed that she hopes to continue to engage the region’s public in the global beauty and power of Africa’s arts through ground-breaking exhibitions, publications, and programming.