Spelman College in Atlanta has announced the establishment of a new curatorial studies program to addresses a diversity gap in the museum industry. A recent survey found that only 4 percent of museum professionals are African Americans.
The program is operated by the department of art and art history and the Spelman College Museum of Fine Arts and is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The initiative began this semester with nine Spelman students and one from nearby Morehouse College. According to the college, the curatorial studies program is the first of its kind at a historically Black college of university.
Students in the program will take courses over the next two years and participate in internships with leading museums in major American cities during the summer month.
Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, the director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Arts, stated that “there’s been an overwhelming interest in understanding what a curator does. Students need to know what to do in order to explore that career path. If just five of our 10 students go on to graduate school and work in this profession, we’ve already made an extraordinary contribution to the field. We’re really excited about the potential to make a difference.”
Dr. Brownlee is a 1993 graduate of Spelman College and holds a Ph.D. in art history from Duke University.