Dr. Jasmine Mahmoud has a heart for art. Not only is her whole heart in the game but she is also a noted scholar, advocate, curator, and historian of art performance.
Before meeting Jasmine, I was aware of her influential work as curator of Abstractions of Black Citizenship: African American Art from St. Louis, a group exhibition featuring the works of St. Louis artists Dominic Chambers, Damon Davis, Jen Everett, De Nichols, and Katherine Simone Reynolds, when Mahmoud was Assistant Professor in Arts Leadership at Seattle University. This exhibit posed a question that artists in many Black communities nationwide have explored in various expressions: How might an attention to abstraction make aesthetic, geographic, and political space for Black presence and citizenship?
In the fall of 2021, Mahmoud joined the faculty of the University of Washington School of Drama as Assistant Professor of Theatre History, Theory, and Criticism. As a researcher, Jasmine engages in performance studies, experimental theater, and dance, Black aesthetics, critical race studies, feminist/queer of color critique, public policy and arts and cultural policy, urban ethnography, and geography. Dr. Mahmoud is a brilliant encyclopedic reference guide on the history and nuances of Black arts evolution. An often-published researcher and writer, her work can be found on the pages of multiple national and international arts chronicles, as well as in local publications.
When developing the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture and Crosscut joint venture Black Arts Legacies project, brainstorming discussions about “dream team” project leaders immediately brought to the fore Dr. Jasmine Mahmoud as a potential. When she agreed to take on the task as Project Editor, everyone breathed a sigh of gratitude, knowing that the highest level of research and integrity would be brought to the project. She does not and did not disappoint! You can check out the entire project, including artist profiles penned by Mahmoud here.
In addition to her academic credentials and her adept project leadership, Jasmine Mahmoud is a bright light in the Seattle arts community. She is a down-to-earth lover of all things art and her warm personality makes her a fabulous co-conspirator and friend. I have learned so much from her about arts curating and arts advocacy. She is a subtle and forceful voice for engagement with, and respect for, the creative community and she is a leader in the truest sense of the word. As is fitting for someone of Dr. Mahmoud’s intellect and stature, she serves as a Governor Inslee-appointed Washington State Arts Commissioner. She earned her Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, her MA in Arts Politics from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, and a BA in Government from Harvard University.
Dr. Jasmine Mahmoud, we are so honored to have you in our Seattle community and we take great pride in this opportunity to shine a bright spotlight on the many contributions you have already made and the new pathways to arts engagement you will continue to forge.