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The Andrew W. Mellon Summer Academy and Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program

Have you ever wondered . . .

What is a curator and what do they do?
How are exhibitions created?
What skills are needed to work in a museum?

If so, apply to the Andrew W. Mellon Summer Academy!

June 17–24, 2018

The Andrew W. Mellon Summer Academy is a weeklong intensive program exposing undergraduate students to museum professions through workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, field trips, and networking events. After completing the Summer Academy, participants have the opportunity to apply for a two-year curatorial fellowship. 

The Andrew W. Mellon Summer Academy and Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program provides specialized training for students across the United States from groups historically underrepresented in the curatorial field and those who support the goal of promoting inclusive, pluralistic museums. The program 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. 

Applications open: November 1, 2017
Application deadline: Midnight, Febraury 1, 2018

Questions? Please contact:

Felicia Mings 
Academic Curator, Academic Engagement and Research 
(312) 443-3581 
fmings@artic.edu

Established in 2013, the Andrew W. Mellon Summer Academy and Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program aims to make a critical impact on American art museums by expanding the diversity of their curatorial staff. The program provides specialized training in the curatorial field for students across the United States and was originally implemented at five partnering institutions: the Art Institute of Chicago; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH); and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City. Each partner museum holds a world-class, encyclopedic collection that represents the broad range of artistic production across history and around the globe, and at each site the program is organized around two components: the Summer Academy and the Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program.

The program is intended specifically for undergraduate students from historically underrepresented groups in the curatorial field or those who support the goal of promoting inclusive, pluralistic museums. Students must be currently enrolled at a university, college, or community college, and, if selected, be able to commit to at least two years in the program prior to graduating. Applicants should express an interest in art, art history, or the museum field. In addition to having a strong academic record, a candidate should be able to demonstrate, through areas of study, extracurricular activities, background, or other experiences, how they will contribute to the program.

Summer Academies are one-week immersion programs designed to provide a rich experience in the museum environment and expose the 15 participants to career options related to art and art history. Each Summer Academy will include workshops, tours, field trips, and networking events with museum professionals. Upon the completion of each Summer Academy, participants have the opportunity to apply for two-curatorial fellowships, for which two students will be accepted. 

The two-year curatorial fellowships provide students with hands-on experience inside a museum setting, working with curators and staff on exhibitions, collections, and programs. Fellows are matched with a museum mentor who works to enrich their academic experience and to increase exposure to the museum context while broadening a fellow’s understanding of art and art history. Fellowships include engagement during the academic school year and two consecutive summer internships.

High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Nelson–Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH)

Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA)

Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply?

  1. Undergraduates currently enrolled at a university, college, or community college
  2. Undergraduates who, if selected as a fellow, can commit to two years in the program with graduation planned for May 2020 or a later date (typically a current freshman or sophomore and/or a nontraditional student with two years of undergraduate study remaining)
  3. Individuals historically underrepresented in the curatorial field or those who support the goal of promoting inclusive, pluralistic museums. For more information, please view the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s 2015 “Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey."
  4. Individuals who are eligible to work in the United States

What other qualifications are preferred?

  1. Demonstrated interest in art, art history, or the museum field.
  2. Enrollment at a university, college, or community college located near a partner museum: the Art Institute of Chicago; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH); and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City (NAMA). **Please apply to one of the six museums, whichever is closest to your adademic institution.**
  3. Openness to the idea of pursuing a masters or doctorate degree in the arts or museum field

Summer Academy

What is the Summer Academy?

The Summer Academy is a weeklong intensive program exposing undergraduate students to museum professions through workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, field trips and networking events.

How long is the Summer Academy?

Summer Academy participants must spend one week at their host museum.

When is the Summer Academy?

Sunday, June 17 to Sunday, June 24, 2018

Is there financial support available?

Yes. Summer Academy participants will receive a $50 daily stipend. If students do not live in the location of the Summer Academy host museum, a modest travel and housing stipend may be provided.

How many students will be selected for each Summer Academy?

Fifteen (15) students will be selected for each Summer Academy at each museum.

When will students be notified if they have been selected to participate in a Summer Academy?

March 15, 2018

Should students attend a college close to one of the partner museums?

Yes, this is preferred. Fellows selected from the Summer Academies for the Fellowship Program will be paired with a mentor at the host museum with whom they will work on projects and with whom they will meet regularly during the academic year and summer.


The Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program

What is the Fellowship Program?

The Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program is a two-year program providing fellows with hands-on experience inside a museum setting, working with curators and staff on exhibitions, collections, and programs.

How long is the Fellowship Program?

Fellows can expect to spend two years at their host museum. During the academic year, fellows must meet with their mentors and with a local program coordinator on a regular basis. In the summer, fellows will have 10-week intensive summer internships. Fellows will also participate in a yearly national convening at one of the partner museums rotating annually and will engage their fellow participants across the country in an online community platform.

Is there financial support to participate in the fellowship program?

Yes. Once selected as a fellow, students will receive $4,000 during the academic school year to alleviate financial pressures that might otherwise require a student to pursue part-time work or work-study arrangements. In addition, fellows will receive $6,000 during the summer internships. A housing and travel stipend may also be provided to fellows during the summer internships.

How are fellows selected?

Students must first participate in a Summer Academy held at one of the partnering museums. After completing the Summer Academy, participants interested in becoming fellows will submit supplemental materials and have in-person interviews for consideration for the Fellowship Program.

Do I apply to the Summer Academy and to the Fellowship Program separately?

No. Students must first apply and participate in the Summer Academy in order to be considered for the Fellowship Program.

If I applied to a Summer Academy and was not selected to participate, can I reapply when there is a future Summer Academy?

Yes, you may apply to the program if you still meet all the eligibility requirements.

If I applied to a Summer Academy and participated but was not selected to be a fellow, can I apply to a future Summer Academy?

No. Students who participate in a Summer Academy may not reapply to the program but may be considered for different museum opportunities in the future.

Margarita Lizcano

2016–18 Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellow

Margarita Lizcano

is a senior in art history, theory, and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her focus is on Latin American modern and contemporary art with an interest in Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, and Guillermo Gomez-Peña. Having been born in Chihuahua, Mexico, Lizcano is also interested in the hybridity of both physical borders, such as the Mexico/U.S. border, and metaphorical borders as they relate to issues of classism and colorism.

During the 2016–17 academic year Michal Raz Russo, assistant curator of photography, was Lizcano’s mentor. Constantine Petridis, chair of the Department of the Arts of Africa and the Americas and curator of African art, presided over her summer internship; and this academic year Jordan Carter, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art, mentors Lizcano.


Alejandra Vargas

2016–18 Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellow

Alejandra Vargas

is a junior in art history, theory, and criticism at the School of the Art Institute (SAIC). Before attending SAIC, Vargas was a two-year intern at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. During her time at the MCA, she and her peers, together called the Teen Creative Agency, explored the institution's relationship to minority youth. Along with other participants, Vargas co-curated 21 Minus, an event that invited young people from around the city to take over the museum’s spaces. Vargas has also worked with the Art Institute of Chicago’s Department of Learning and Public Engagement, exploring the ways that cultural institutions give back to and serve underrepresented communities.

During the 2016–17 academic year and summer internship, Leslie Fitzpatrick, assistant curator of European decorative arts, mentored Vargas. This academic year Alison Fisher, Harold and Margot Schiff Associate Curator of Architecture and Design, will mentor Vargas.

Jarvis Boyland

2015–17 Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellow

Jarvis Boyland

graduated from the University of Memphis with a major in studio art and a minor in art history in spring 2017. Boyland admires the work of Edgar Degas, David Hockney, Delacroix, Vermeer, Rembrandt, and contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley. As a practicing painter, he is interested in contemporary genre painting and heavily inspired by working-class and social justice issues. Deeply committed to his painting practice, Boyland aims to also independently pursue curatorial endeavors.

During the 2015–16 academic year and summer internship, Mark Pascale, Janet and Craig Duchossois Curator of Prints and Drawings, was Jarvis’s mentor. During the 2016–17 academic year, Sarah Kelly Oehler, Field-McCormick Chair and Curator of American Art, mentored Jarvis. Nenette Luarca-Shoaf, director of adult learning and associate curator of interpretation in the Department of Learning and Public Engagement, presided over his 2017 summer internship.


Yady Rivero

2015–17 Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellow

Yady Rivero

graduated from the University of Chicago in spring 2017 with a major in art history and a specialization in Latin American art and media theory. Through her fellowship, Rivero honed her expertise in film, video and new media and explored questions on museum public(s) and their relationship with the art institution.

During the 2015-2016 academic year Victoria Sancho Lobis, Prince Trust Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings, mentored Rivero. Karen Kice, former Neville Bryan Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design, presided over Rivero's 2016 summer internship. During the 20016–17 academic year and summer internship Rivero was mentored by staff in the Department of Modern and Contemporary art: Robyn Farrell, curatorial assistant; Nora Riccio, director of curatorial administration; and Katja Rivera, research associate.


Sarah Molina

2014-16 Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellows

Sarah Molina

graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a major in art history and minors in philosophy, politics, and economics, in the spring of 2016. Her undergraduate thesis focused on boundaries and frontiers in the Mediterranean as delineated through her study of al-Idrisi’s medieval cartographic manuscript. Since completing the Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship, Molina has embarked on a yearlong dual internship in both the curatorial and education departments at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and has returned to the Art Institute for the 2017–18 year as a Kress Interpretive Fellow.

During the 2014–15 academic year Janice Katz, Roger L. Weston Associate Curator of Japanese Art, mentored Molina. During the 2015–16 year Molina was mentored by curators in the Department of European Painting and Sculpture: Martha Wolff, Eleanor Wood Prince Curator of European Painting Before 1750; Jonathan Tavares, associate curator of arms and armor; and Rebecca Long, Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Associate Curator. Dan Walker, former chair and Christa C. Mayer Thurman Curator of Textiles and curator of Islamic art, presided over Molina's 2015 and 2016 summer internships.


Sheridan Tucker

2014-16 Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellow

Sheridan Tucker

completed a one-year MA in the humanities at the University of Chicago in the spring of 2016. Her thesis focused on abstract painter Ed Clark’s shaped canvas, Untitled, 1957 that is part of the Art Institute’s contemporary collection. Since completing the Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship, Tucker has been awarded the 2016–18 Curatorial Fellowship for Diversity in the Arts at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, and has been selected as a Chicago Artists Coalition Hatch Projects 2016–17 Curatorial Resident.

During the 2014–15 academic year and for her summer internship, Sarah Kelly Oehler, Field-McCormick Chair and Curator of American Art, mentored Tucker. Kate Nesin, former associate curator of modern and contemporary art, mentored Tucker throughout the 2015–16 academic year and presided over her summer internship.

2016 Summer Academy

Left to right, top to bottom: Amanda Malmstrom, Ashley King, Charlie Beatty, Patrick Zapien, Justin Funnye, Rose Camara, Alejandra Vargas, Cristobal Alday, Margarita Lizcano-Hernandez, Sierra Jackson, Emily Gallaugher, Khushmi Mehta, Janet Morales, Cecilia Santos and Linda Xue.

Andrew W. Mellon Summer Academy 2015

Left to right, top to bottom: Itunu Beatrice Ebijimi, Sarah Spalding, Mojolaoluwa Idowu, Hanna Chang, Theodore Watler, Abel Juarez, Ella Krikorian, Yady Rivero, Emily Olek, Lauren Brooks, Sydney Pickens, Jarvis Boyland, Haley Jung, Katia Perez, and Breanna Robinson


Andrew W. Mellon Summer Academy 2014

Left to right: Kylie Escudero, Maakara Khepra, Sarah Molina, Amanda Cervantes, Kara Franco, Patricia Fleming, Caroline House, Biance Alebiosu, Sandra Lopez, LaAndrea Mitchell, Sue Xu, Shalenie Sanker, Sheridan Tucker, Britney Evans, and Bishal Manandhar