Dynamic Duo: Figge Art Museum Appoints Johnson and Sage as New Co-Senior Curators
January 17, 2024


 Dynamic Duo: Figge Art Museum Appoints Johnson and Sage as New Co-Senior Curators

Davenport, Iowa (January 17, 2024) — The Figge Art Museum is pleased to announce Vanessa Sage and Joshua Johnson as Co-Senior Curators of the museum effective December 7, 2023. In their new roles, each brings a wealth of expertise and passion for the arts that will shape and enhance the museum’s exhibition programming and collections.

“Vanessa and Josh have been a part of the Figge’s curatorial team for nearly a decade in different roles,” said Figge Executive Director & CEO Michelle Hargrave. “Their years of experience, expertise and knowledge have prepared them to lead the museum’s efforts to bring in exhibitions and acquisitions that contribute to the vibrant cultural landscape of the Quad Cities.”

Sage earned her BA in Art History and Italian from the University of Iowa and her MA in Museum Studies from Western Illinois University-QC. Born and raised in Davenport, she grew up a few blocks from the Davenport Museum of Art and fondly remembers visiting the museum as a child. Her work at the museum began in 2016 as a Curatorial Intern and she most recently held the position of Associate Curator. Over the past eight years, she has advanced her curatorial expertise and knowledge of the collection to help create meaningful experiences for visitors. As a curator, she is dedicated to embracing diverse artistic perspectives and broadening the impact of art on the community. Sage has curated numerous exhibitions ranging from historical to contemporary, including Irma Rene Koen: An Artist Rediscovered, John Bloom: Close to Home, Didier William: Lakou, Jane Gilmor: Breakfast on Pluto, and the forthcoming exhibition, Tales of Futures Past: Cara and Diego Romero, which will be traveling to 3 venues. Catalogues accompanying these exhibitions are among her publications.

“I have loved working at the Figge over the past eight years,” said Sage. “Having grown up in Davenport, I am deeply invested in positively impacting our community through art. I am proud of the work we do at the Figge and I’m eager to expand that work in my new role.” Johnson received his MFA in Studio Art from American University in Washington, DC, his BFA in Sculpture and Painting from Dominican University in Oak Park, Illinois, and has completed additional graduate work in Museum Studies at Western Illinois University. He has worked at the Figge since 2015 where he started as a Graduate Assistant in the Curatorial Department. Joshua has held the positions of Preparator, Assistant Registrar, Studio School Manager, and Assistant Curator of Contemporary and Interdisciplinary Art during his time at the Figge. 

While working in the curatorial department Joshua curated exhibitions including Mia Feuer: Totems of the Anthropocene, Dimensional: 3D Works from the Figge Collection, Caroline Kent: An Improvisation of Form, Anne Lindberg: think like the river with poet Ginny Threefoot, and Submerged in the Sublime: The Landscape Photography of Kim Keever.

In addition to working at the Figge Joshua has taught art and art history courses at Muscatine and Scott Community Colleges for the last 8 years and will also begin teaching adjunct classes at St. Ambrose University in the fall. He has also acted as juror for a variety of exhibitions throughout the Quad Cities region.

“This is an exciting opportunity to continue the great work that has been done by our curatorial predecessors at the Figge,” said Johnson. “I am looking forward to exhibiting a fantastic historic collection in dynamic new ways, while striving to make the collection and exhibits as relevant to our audience as possible.”

As Co-Senior Curators, Johnson and Sage will work collaboratively to develop a dynamic and diverse exhibition calendar that showcases a variety of artwork from artists of all backgrounds and mediums.

Both Sage and Johnson have facilitated important acquisitions for the collection as part of their roles on the Acquisitions and Loans Committee including Didier William’s N’ap naje ansamn, n’ap vole ansamn, 2019 and Blue Grass artist Terry Rathje’s Kiwi Canoe. They will work to expand the collection to fill art historical gaps and to include more video works, performance documentation, 3D printing, virtual reality, and other contemporary art forms as they develop.

About the Figge Art Museum:
The Figge Art Museum is dedicated to bringing art and people together. Located on the Mississippi River in downtown Davenport at 225 West Second Street, the Figge is the premier art exhibition and education facility between Chicago and Des Moines. Its landmark glass building, designed by British architect David Chipperfield, is home to one of the Midwest’s finest art collections and presents world-class exhibitions, art classes, lectures, and special events that attract visitors of all ages. Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday; 10 a.m.-8 a.m. on Thursdays; and 12-5 p.m. on Sundays.Reservations are not required, but can be made at or by calling 563-345-6632. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors and students with ID and $4 children ages 4-12. Admission is free to Figge members and institutional members and to all on Thursday evenings.  You can become a member for as little as $50 by visiting the Figge website. To contact the museum, please call 563.326.7804, or visit


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225 West Second Street
Davenport, Iowa



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