Maria L. Kelly is the Assistant Curator of Photography at the High Museum of Art. Maria was the curatorial assistant in the High’s Photography Department from 2011 to 2016, returning to the role in 2019 after completing her master’s degree. During her time at the High, Maria has helped organize more than twenty-five photography installations, including exhibitions featuring the work of Helen Levitt, Abelardo Morell, Sheila Pree Bright, Wynn Bullock, Gordon Parks, and Thomas Struth, among others.
Notable exhibitions at the High include Underexposed: Women Photographers from the Collection (2021), What Is Near: Reflections on Home (2016), Helen Levitt: In the Street (2015), and Leonard Freed: Black in White America (2014). She was the venue curator for Deana Lawson (2022), co-organized by the ICA Boston and MoMA PS1, and André Kertész: Postcards from Paris (2022), organized by the Art Institute of Chicago. Her master’s thesis, The Unfixed Landscape: Meghann Riepenhoff & Matthew Brandt (2018), considered experimental bodies of work by both artists within the context of the history of photography and the Land Art movement.
Maria holds an MA from Columbia University and a BA from the University of Georgia, both in art history. Previously, she worked at The Sir Elton John Photography Collection and the Brooklyn Museum and has held internships at The Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Georgia Museum of Art.
Dr. Sarah Kennel is the Aaron Siskind Curator of Photography and Director of the Raysor Center for Works on Paper at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) since 2021. A specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth-century photography, Kennel has curated, published, and presented widely on topics ranging from nineteenth-century French photography and historic photographic processes to European modernism and understudied women photographers. She has also written extensively on the relationship between painting and photography in nineteenth-century France and completed a dissertation on the relationship between dance and the visual arts in early twentieth-century culture.
Before joining VMFA, Kennel held positions at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, where she most recently curated Underexposed: Women Photographers from the Collection and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, where she co-curated the acclaimed touring exhibition Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings as well as a retrospective of the work of Olivia Parker. Dr. Kennel launched her curatorial career at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. There, she organized the exhibitions Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris, Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929: When Art Danced with Music, The Serial Portrait: Photography and Identity in the Past 100 Years, and In the Darkroom: Photographic Processes before the Digital Age. Kennel holds a doctorate and a Master of Arts in art history from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University.