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Crystal Bridges Museum appoints new curator of Indigenous art

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BENTONVILLE, Ark.Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced the appointment of Jordan Poorman Cocker as a new, full-time curator of Indigenous art.

An enrolled member of the Kiowa Tribe, Poorman Cocker investigates interconnections between Indigenous research methodologies and Indigenous museum practices by linking relational world views to art.

At Crystal Bridges, she plays a key role in strengthening relationships with Indigenous artists, expanding the collection of Indigenous art, providing opportunities for reciprocity through collaboration, and helping shape the vision for the museum’s expansion. 

crystal bridges museum
Cyrstal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. (Arkansas Tourism)

“Jordan is a deeply knowledgeable artist and scholar of Indigenous art with strong ties to Indigenous artists and communities regionally, nationally, and internationally,” said Crystal Bridges Chief Curator Austen Barron Bailly.

“Jordan’s leadership and contributions to developing the museum’s collection and presentation of Indigenous art will ensure it reflects the richness and diversity of Indigenous cultures and will be instrumental to helping Crystal Bridges advance its mission to welcome all to explore the unfolding story of America.”

Meet Poorman Cocker: New Curator of Indigenous Art

Poorman Cocker has dedicated more than 10 years to the study and advancement of Indigenous art. Her extensive knowledge of the field will play a pivotal role as Crystal Bridges continues to grow its collection to encompass myriad histories, aesthetics, and cultural expressions, the museum stated in a press release.

Prior to her current appointment, Poorman Cocker held curatorial positions at various institutions, including the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She also serves as the 2021-2025 Terra Foundation Guest Co-Curator of Indigenous Art at the Block Museum, Evanston, Illinois.  

“I am excited to join Crystal Bridges and work to reinforce the museum’s commitment to showcasing the wide range of artistic traditions within the United States,” Cocker said.

“It’s inspiring to be part of a fine arts museum located here on Caddo, Quapaw, and Osage ancestral territories. I’m eager to bring my scholarship to the institution, provide more opportunities for the museum to connect with Indigenous artists, and critically engage in ongoing conversations surrounding Indigenous art throughout the country.” 

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About Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art 

The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. Since opening in 2011, the museum has welcomed more than 10.8 million visitors across its spaces, with no cost for admission. 

Crystal Bridges was founded in 2005 as a non-profit charitable organization by arts patron and philanthropist, Alice Walton. The collection spans five centuries of American masterworks from early American to current day and is enhanced by temporary exhibitions. The museum is nestled on 120 acres of Ozark landscape and was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie

In February 2020, the museum opened the Momentary in Downtown Bentonville (507 SE E Street), conceived as a platform for the art, food, and music of our time. In 2026, Crystal Bridges will complete a nearly 100,000 square foot expansion that will allow the museum to expand access for all. 

For more information, visit The museum is located at 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, Arkansas 72712.

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