Atlanta Contemporary announces Executive Director, Veronica Kessenich to step down.

Tenure marked with organizational growth through transformation to free admission, the implementation of the independent curatorial model, and financial stability.

ATLANTA —July 5, 2023—Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (Atlanta Contemporary) announces that Veronica Kessenich will step down from her position as Executive Director, with her last day being September 30, 2023.

Since her appointment in June 2013, first as Development Director (2013 – 2015) and then as Executive Director (2015 – 2023), Kessenich has supported Atlanta Contemporary through the Capital Campaign (2013), conceived of and implemented the transition to free admission (2015), brought about a new, independent curatorial model (2019), and led the organization through COVID-19 – including being one of the first organizations in Atlanta to upgrade the air ventilation system to support the health and wellness of audiences (June 2020) to re-open and present exceptional programming safely in July 2020.

“It has been an honor to steward Atlanta Contemporary – I am proud of the work we have done over the past ten years and especially during COVID-19; it has been rewarding to work alongside such a dedicated staff, the Atlanta arts community, and the wider region of artists and curators,” said Kessenich. “As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary, I can think of no better time to transition. We are fiscally and programmatically strong. The future looks bright for Atlanta Contemporary – new leadership has fertile ground to work with the board, staff, and existing programming towards the making of a prosperous future.”

“As we approach our 50th Anniversary, Veronica’s tenure has paved the path towards sustainability and programmatic relevancy for Atlanta Contemporary,” says board vice chair Odessa Archibald.

Katina Asbell, board chair, comments, “We are incredibly grateful for her creative leadership and thoughtful management over the last ten years. Veronica has ensured that Atlanta Contemporary remains the nexus for artist-driven and art-centered programming in Atlanta so that together we can Change The Way We All See Art.”

Atlanta Contemporary’s Board of Directors has appointed a search committee and hired a consultant to conduct a nationwide search for the next Executive Director. Our goal is to attract candidates who embody our mission, possess a deep passion for contemporary art, and have the leadership acumen to guide us into the future.

Veronica is working alongside the board and staff to ensure a smooth transition. To learn more about the position and how to apply, please visit our website.

All inquiries should be sent to

Veronica’s departure occurs after a successful ART PARTY and in the lead-up to the 50th Anniversary exhibitions featuring legacy exhibitor Sam Gilliam, and emerging artist, Hasani Sahlehe – August 2023. The exhibition program celebrates the past and looks toward the future, with Veronica confirming additional programming through 2025. Atlanta Contemporary remains committed to its independent curatorial model – paying all artists, curators, and program partners an honorarium for their work. Since implementing this change, AC has provided over $250,000 in funds in addition to becoming a Regional Regranting Partner with the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts.

Atlanta Contemporary believes in the power of contemporary art to change lives and that anyone - regardless of age, race, gender, socio-economic status, or any perceived limitations - should have access to innovative and engaging contemporary art and programs. Rooted in the very fabric of our founders, Atlanta Contemporary has been artist-centered and art-driven since 1973.

Photo credit Jan Rattia.

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