Selected Press and Media
National Gallery of Art (February, 2023)
Washington, DC, through the Scurlock Lens
In celebration of its release, we introduce the Scurlock Studio, photographers of the Washington Black Renaissance. Learn about the profound impact Addison Scurlock and his sons had on the city and discover how they made beauty the center of their art.
Artnet (November 2, 2022)
Serena and Venus Williams and Ava DuVernay Tapped Rising-Star Artists to Paint Their Portraits for the Smithsonian—See the Results Here
The works were commissioned as part of the institution's biennial Portrait of a Nation Award, which recognizes individuals who have made transformative contributions to the U.S.
The Guardian (August 19, 2022)
Exhibit reveals role of Black Americans in shaping film industry: ‘This history has never been shown’
Recognizing independent filmmakers during this particular time period, Combs added, helps illustrate that “there was still a vibrant ecosystem of artists who were making a way out of no way.
Culture Type (4 April, 2021)
Rhea L. Combs Named Director of Curatorial Affairs at Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY (NPG) in Washington, D.C., announced a new appointment today. Rhea L. Combs is joining the Smithsonian museum as director of curatorial affairs.
WSJ (29 August 2020)
Chadwick Boseman’s Career Amplified Black Culture, History
The surprise news on Friday of actor Chadwick Boseman’s death at age 43 left his fans and industry peers struggling to take stock of a meteoric career cut short, and the impact of an actor whose work shined a light on Black history and culture.
Smithsonian Magazine (January 2020)
Trove of Stunning Dance Photography Now Online
Modern dance impresario Alvin Ailey once asked photographer Jack Mitchell to shoot publicity images of his dancers for their next performance without even knowing the title of their new work. Seeing “choreography” in the images Mitchell produced Ailey leapt into an ongoing professional relationship with Mitchell.
The Washington Post (October 2018)
Smithsonian’s new film festival offers opportunity — and hope — to filmmakers of color
Sharing these types of stories is an integral part of the festival, according to Rhea Combs, the event’s lead organizer and curator of film and photography at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The Washingtonian (June 2018)
An Inside Look at DC’s New Oprah Exhibit
Combs, who along with Kendrick worked on the exhibit for 18 months, spoke with Washingtonian about her experience with the project and meeting Oprah. The National Museum of African American History and Culture’s newest exhibit, Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture.
The New York Times (June 2018)
Oprah Earned This Museum Show. And It’s a Potent Spectacle.
She and her thousands of hours of TV are now the subjects of a big, fascinating exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture that captures what the show was, did and has meant.
The New York Times
Vintage Photos Recall the Early Days of Hip-Hop, Before it Became a Billion-Dollar Industry
At present I think when you think about the museum and you think about the mission of the museum, it is one that wants to provide a sweep of African-American history and culture,” explains Rhea Combs, a curator of photography.
The New York Times / Lens (Dec 19, 2017)
African American History Seen Through an African-American Lens
Photography was speaking to and empowering African-American communities, but it was also creating a moment whereby the larger mainstream society had to recognize and confront that this group of citizens existed.