Donna Rae Kessinger is a working Artist and Curator based in the New York Metro Area whose focus is mainly on projects that encourage collaboration between emerging artists and communities, resulting in a marriage of art and commerce in the form of a possible intervention, performative work, public art project, or traditional gallery exhibition.

She has been the Gallery Director and Curator at ChaShaMa’s Space to Create and Present programs in  Matawan, New Jersey since 2017.  While she was Executive Director of the Monmouth Museum her Contemporary Arts based Autism focused programming won the 2021 Jersey Shore IMPACT 100 Grant. The museum was also awarded grants from New Jersey State Council on the Arts, NJSCA Emerging Artist Fellowship, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. 

Early in her career Donna Rae was mentored by Marsha Tucker, Alanna Heiss, Jenny Dixon and Kate Millett. She is deeply familiar with operations relating to Womyn’s Artist Colonies, top tier and smaller museums, traditional galleries and Alternative Art Spaces. This experience helped shape her vision and ways of interacting with shareholders, community members, artists and board members. As an Independent Curator and Artist, she has a passion for creating programs that embrace inclusion, social justice and diversity including working with the Young Curators Unplugged project at Aljira in Newark and creating art exhibitions programs with adults who are on the autism spectrum. She facilitated the emerging artist the Collaborative Art Projects, at the Bronx Museum of the Arts from 2000-2006. Kessinger is an advocate for the concept of the Museum as a healing space that works to bring community together.

Her feminist media based video artwork, has been cloned and archived on Rhizome’s ArtBase at the New Museum, is live on http://artfem.tv/documentary/ and has been screened at the Jersey City Museum of Art. Kessinger’s  art which was created for the 1996 REPOhistory Entering Buttermilk Bottom Project, is archived by NYU Fales Library and Special Collections.  

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