The Art Institute of Chicago, the High Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (MFAH), and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art are pleased to announce the launch of The Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program, which provides specialized training in the curatorial field for students across the United States from diverse backgrounds. This initiative is generously supported by a grant of $2,073,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. A National Fellowship Coordinator based at LACMA, the institution to which the grant was made, will work with regional coordinators to execute the program across all of the museums.
The fellowship seeks to make a critical impact on American art museums by developing gifted curators who are committed to engaging with the full spectrum of museum audiences. Fellows will participate in The Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program throughout their undergraduate career, with the goal of continuing their education through graduate work.
Twenty students nationwide will be selected for this intensive program following Summer Academies at each museum over the course of the grant period. The Summer Academy is a one-week intensive program consisting of workshops, tours, field trips and networking events with museum professionals. They will be offered in summer 2014 and summer 2015 at each partnering museum. This program is open to freshmen and sophomore students, enrolled in undergraduate programs located near the partner museums, representing historically underrepresented groups in the curatorial field or who support the goal of promoting inclusive, pluralistic museums.
Douglas Druick, President and Eloise W. Martin Director at the Art Institute of Chicago, said, “We are grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for funding such a visionary program that will provide students with meaningful formal experience in curatorial endeavors, mentoring, and exposure to professionals across wide areas of expertise, including conservation, education, and digital access. This initiative is critical to the vitality of museums and museum leadership around the country, and I look forward to supporting and encouraging young scholars here in Chicago as the program unfolds.”
“We are honored and extremely excited to participate in this important initiative and to help foster future leaders and diversity in the curatorial field,” said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. director of the High. “This program offers the very special opportunity for undergraduate students to gain a true understanding of how museums work and for art institutions to become more inclusive and representative of the communities they serve.”
“We believe The Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship will have a lasting impact on the next generation of curators," said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director. “We are pleased to partner with our colleagues on this important initiative. We thank the Mellon Foundation for their generous support and applaud their tremendous dedication to pioneering programs such as this."
“Demographers have determined that Houston has the most diverse population of any American metropolis,” commented Gary Tinterow, MFAH Director. “Crucially, this initiative will enable us to educate and mentor a new and more diverse generation of museum professionals, one that truly reflects the changing face of our country.”
Julián Zugazagoitia, CEO & Director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, remarked, “I am very proud that the Nelson-Atkins is part of The Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship in partnership. We live in the heart of the United States at a crossroads of diverse cultures and perspectives. We have a tremendously talented team of curators and staff excited about helping students shape their future and the rich varied future of our field.”
Selected fellows will participate in a multiyear program that provides hands-on experience inside a museum setting, such as working with curators and staff on exhibitions, collections, and programs. Designed as a series of ongoing summer internships at the museum, followed by continued engagement during the academic school year, fellows are provided a stipend and are assigned museum mentors. Mentors will work with students to enrich the academic experience and to increase exposure to the museum context while broadening their understanding of art and art history.
Art Institute of Chicago Location and Contact: 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603 | (312) 443-3600 website
High Museum of Art Location and Contact: 1280 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30309 | (404) 733-4400 website
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Location and Contact: 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036 | (323) 857-6000 website
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) Location and Contact: 1001 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005 | (713) 639-7300 website
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Location and Contact: 4525 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO 64111 | (816) 751-1278 website
About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation currently makes grants in four core program areas: Higher Education and Scholarship; Scholarly Communications and Information Technology; Art History, Conservation, and Museums; Performing Arts. Within each of its core programs, the Foundation concentrates most of its grantmaking in a few areas. Institutions and programs receiving support are often leaders in fields of Foundation activity, but they may also be promising newcomers, or in a position to demonstrate new ways of overcoming obstacles to achieve program goals. Our grantmaking philosophy is to build, strengthen and sustain institutions and their core capacities, rather than be a source for narrowly defined projects. As such, we develop thoughtful, long-term collaborations with grant recipients and invest sufficient funds for an extended period to accomplish the purpose at hand and achieve meaningful results.