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For Immediate Release


Media Contacts:
Audrey Arthur
Twitter: @SpelmanMedia

Wyatt Phillips

Spelman College Receives Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant to Establish New Curatorial Studies Program

ATLANTA (Feb. 9, 2015) — Spelman College has been awarded a $250,000 grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to pilot a Curatorial Studies Program. The Program is a two-year collaboration between Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and the Department of Art and Art History. The initiative has a two-fold mission: to prepare the next generation of students of African descent for curatorial professions; and serve as a pipeline to diversify a field that has been described as more than 80 percent White, according to the American Alliance of Museums.

Designed for juniors and seniors in various academic majors, the Program will be comprised of 10 students selected through a competitive application process. Over the course of the Program, the students will complete two curatorial studies courses, summer internships hosted by museums across the country, sessions and workshops with seasoned curators and museum professionals who will serve as mentors, and spring break courses at partner institutions. During the final year, students will complete a culminating project.

“The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s longstanding support of Spelman College has been critical to the invigoration of key academic initiatives,” noted President Beverly Daniel Tatum. “This most recent grant is meaningful and timely as the College engages in the dynamic process of re-envisioning our arts programs.”

Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Ph.D., director of the Museum and visionary behind the College’s curatorial studies initiative, explained why the Museum is proud to lead this important effort. “Museums across the country are engaged in the important process of rethinking how they can become even more relevant within society, better reflect the changing populations that they serve, and diversify the curatorial field,” said Dr. Brownlee. “This program, which introduces students to curatorial professions during a critical time in their academic careers, is a significant part of this larger conversation. Its impact over time will be tremendous.”

A new associate professor in art and art history will be added to the College’s faculty roster to teach the Program’s two curatorial studies courses, along with additional courses in the Department of Art and Art History.

“The Spelman College Department of Art and Art History has a long history of producing important curators and arts administrators,” said Arturo Lindsay, D.A., department chair and professor of art and art history. “It has been our desire to have a formal curatorial studies concentration or track to better serve and prepare our students for this important field. The Mellon Foundation grant will allow us that opportunity. Through this pilot, we aim to demonstrate the benefits for continuing such a program in the future.”

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a highly selective, liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent.  Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students.  Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman, Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer, Broadway producer Alia Jones, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley, Harvard University professor Evelynn Hammonds, author Pearl Cleage and actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson.  For more information, visit

About Spelman College Museum of Fine Art
In “Six Reasons to Love Atlanta,” praised the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art for its fantastically curated exhibitions that focus on art by and about women of the African Diaspora. Since the Museum opened in 1996 it has established an impressive track record for organizing first-rate, mission-specific, art exhibitions that expand art offerings in Atlanta and the southeast region. It has garnered a reputation for organizing exhibitions that merit national and international attention. Milestones include being selected as the first institution from the United States that jointly (along with the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston) represented the United States at the 2012 Havana Biennial in Havana, Cuba. The Museum is poised to continue its trajectory of pursuing ambitious relevant projects that have a lasting impact.

About Spelman College Department of Art and Art History
The Department of Art and Art History was founded in 1931 by Hale Woodruff, a renowned painter and muralist. In 1933, Woodruff was joined at Spelman by sculptor Nancy Elizabeth Prophet. Outstanding alumnae of the program include Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Ph.D., director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art; Brooklyn, N.Y. Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, also founder of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA); Tuliza Fleming, Ph.D., curator of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture; Naima J. Keith, associate curator, Studio Museum in Harlem; Calida Garcia Rawles, artist, illustrator and author; and Varnette Honeywood, artist, printmaker and entrepreneur.





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