Last month, the Princeton University Art Museum and the HBCU Alliance of Museums and Art Galleries partnered to establish the Curation, Leadership, Artistry and Practice Program. Designed to increase diversity in the art leadership field, the inaugural program introduced participants to the inner workings of a university art museum and exposed them to a variety of museum careers and opportunities, while honing practical skills in formal art analysis and academic research.
“The art museum field simply doesn’t look like the people of this country,” said James Steward, the Nancy A. Nasher-David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, Director of the Princeton University Art Museum. “Working within the context of a leadership university, we feel the responsibility to afford opportunities to new generations of students, to introduce them to career paths they might not have considered, and thus to help ensure that museums and the humanities remain relevant.”
During the program, the participants lived on campus and participated in research and writing assignments, curator-led tours of the art museum and Princeton’s outdoor sculpture collection, guest lectures and workshops, studio visit with artists, and art-focused trips to New York City and East Orange, New Jersey. Additionally, the students were split into small groups to create a formal proposal for an exhibition using works of African American artists in the art museum’s collections. The week culminated in the student groups presenting their proposals to an audience of museum and university staff members and Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem and a guest speaker.
“With the Princeton University Art Museum as a powerful collaborative partner joining the Alliance of HBCU Museums and Galleries, the CLAP program met its goal of elevating expectations for our students and recent alumni in their exposure to art conservation and curatorial preparation and training,” said Jontyle Robinson, curator and assistant professor in the Legacy Museum at Tuskegee University.