Emily Zimmerman

Seattle, WA

Emily Zimmerman is a curator and writer based in Seattle. In 2017 she became Director of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery at the University of Washington’s School of Art + Art History + Design, where she advocates for artists, uses an expansive intersectional lens to advance racial and gender equity, and works with students to become active participants in today’s arts ecology. 

During her tenure at the gallery, Emily has increased support for BIPOC artists through new and expanded commissions, including the Jacob Lawrence Residency, which invests in Black artists from around the country, and an annual curatorial fellowship for BIPOC graduate students. In 2015 she launched MONDAY, a W.A.G.E.-certified journal that presents experiments in arts writing twice each year. She has forged a number of institutional partnerships, including a multi-year residency with the Black Embodiments Studio, a critical arts writing incubator and public lecture series dedicated to expansive, dynamic investigations of Blackness in contemporary art. In total, she has curated more than 50 exhibitions and commissions with artists such as Gordon Hall, Melvin Moti, Kerry Tribe, Danny Giles, and Marisa Williamson. She has also produced 200+ events, including lecture series, film series, performance festivals, and workshops.

Prior to joining the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Emily served as the Associate Curator of Programs at the Henry Art Gallery, where much of her work focused on building external partnerships and offering accessible off-site programming. She began her curatorial career as the Assistant Curator at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), commissioning new work from artists such as Melvin Moti, Ryan & Trevor Oakes, and Gordon Hall. Emily’s writing has appeared in BOMB and Contemporary Performance, and she has served on review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Artist Trust, 4Culture, Creative Capitol, and the Herb Alpert Awards, among others. Emily earned her MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and her BA from New York University.