Overview of the Fellowship
The High Museum of Art is proud to offer the Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program, which provides specialized training in the curatorial field for students of ethnically diverse backgrounds. This five year initiative is generously supported by a $2 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 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. In July 2015 the Mellon Foundation published a report, Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey, that addresses the program in more detail.
The Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program is implemented at five partnering institutions: the Art Institute of Chicago; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.
Each year, two students will be selected as Curatorial Fellows for this intensive program at the High Museum of Art. Currently, twenty students are participating nationwide. Fellows will be chosen following the weeklong Summer Academies, hosted annually by each participating museum. Fifteen qualified undergraduates from across the southeast are invited to participate. The program offers exposure to all aspects of curatorial work and is aimed at introducing candidates to the museum field.
Curatorial Fellows at the High will participate in a multiyear program that provides hands-on experience inside a museum setting, such as working with curators and staff on exhibitions and with collections and travel to partner museums. Designed as a two-year program of full-time summer internships at the museum, followed by less intensive engagement during the academic year, the program provides fellows with curatorial mentoring and a generous stipend. 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.
This program is open to freshmen and sophomore students representing ethnically diverse cultures and backgrounds.
In the current, five-year pilot phase (2013-2018), there are no additional Summer Academies being offered or fellowships being awarded. We plan to renew the program following an evaluation process, with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's continued support.
Each weeklong Summer Academy is open to 15 rising sophomores or juniors. The Summer Academy provides students with a unique opportunity to learn in an in-depth way about art museums and curatorial practice.
There is financial support provided for students selected to attend the Summer Academy.
The Academy will provide the opportunity to:
- Get to know the art museum
- Learn what it means to be a curator through panels and discussions with High curators and other curators in the Atlanta area
- Take field trips to local art museums and art history departments
- Learn about the art museum audience
- Participate in a day-long "Create An Exhibition" workshop with the High's exhibition design and interpretation team
- Understand the art "market" through:
- Gallery tours and meetings
- Visits to private collections
- A Studio visit
How to Apply
Applicants should submit all of the application materials (application form, personal statement, resume, transcripts, and one letter of academic recommendation) as word documents or PDF to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. APPLICATION FORM
2. PERSONAL STATEMENT
Please limit the personal statement to no more than 700 words (two typed pages, double-spaced). The personal statement should include information on:
- What interests you about the Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program and the Summer Academy? The program, which is supported by the Mellon Foundation, aims to expand the diversity of curatorial ranks in American art museums. Do you think this is important? Please explain.
- Describe why you consider yourself to be a student representing diversity in terms of culture, background, or experience, and why you feel committed to representing diverse perspectives. How do questions of diversity shape your academic interests?
- Explain, drawing on your extracurricular activities, areas of study, background or other experiences, how you can contribute to the Mellon Foundation’s initiative?
- Provide an example of an experience where you were able to offer a diverse perspective to a project, discussion or dialogue and explain the impact you had.
Please be sure to include relevant employment and volunteer experiences, and computer and language skills.
Please provide unofficial transcripts for your entire undergraduate career, including the college or university you currently attend and any you may have previously attended.
5. ONE LETTER OF ACADEMIC RECOMMENDATION
Applicants must have one confidential letter of academic recommendation from a faculty member at your college or university. Please be sure to provide the name and contact information (email and telephone number) of your recommender on the application form.
The letter of recommendation must be submitted to our email address (email@example.com) by the application deadline. The recommendation should clearly indicate the applicant’s full name in the subject of the email. Please advise your recommender to submit their letter as a word document or PDF.
The letter of recommendation must be submitted to our email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the application deadline. The recommendation should clearly indicate the applicant’s full name in the subject of the email. Please advise your recommender to submit their letter as a word document or pdf.
If you have further questions, please e-mail Alexandra Skliris, Andrew W. Mellon Coordinator for Curatorial Fellowships.
Who is eligible to apply?
- Individuals from historically underrepresented groups in the curatorial field.
- Undergraduates currently enrolled at a university, college or community college.
- Undergraduates who, if selected as a fellow, can commit to two years in the program prior to graduating. (Typically a current Freshman or Sophomore student)
- Individuals who are eligible to work in the United States
What other qualifications are preferred?
- Students can demonstrate an interest in art, art history or the museum field.
- Students are enrolled at a university, college or community college located near a partner museum. Partner museums are the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), the High Museum of Art, Atlanta (High), 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).
- Students are open to the idea of pursuing a masters or doctorate degree in the arts or museum field.
What is the Summer Academy?
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, summer 2015, and summer 2016 at each partnering museum. Summer Academies are designed to provide a rich experience in the museum environment and expose participants to career options related to art and art history.
How long is the Summer Academy?
Summer Academy participants must spend one week at their host museum.
Is there financial support to participate in the Summer Academy?
Yes. Summer Academy participants will receive a daily per diem. 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?
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?
Students will be notified on or before Friday, April 15, 2016.
Should I 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 with 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 multi-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 counterparts 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 which 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 apply to a Summer Academy held at one of the partnering museums. After completing the Summer Academy, participants will submit supplemental materials and have in-person interviews for consideration for the fellowship program.
How many students will be selected to be fellows?
Two students will be selected at Curatorial Fellows.
Do I apply to the Summer Academy and to the Fellowship program separately?
No. Students must apply and participate in the Summer Academy in order to be considered for the Fellowship program.
If I applied to a 2015 Summer Academy and was not selected to participate in it, can I re-apply to a 2016 Summer Academy?
Yes, you may apply to the program if you still meet all the eligibility requirements.
If I applied to the 2014 or 2015 Summer Academy, participated in it but was not selected to be a fellow, can I apply to the 2016 Summer Academy?
No. Students who participate in a Summer Academy may not re-apply to the program, but may be considered for opportunities at the museum in the future.
About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation currently makes grants in five core program areas: Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities; Scholarly Communications; Arts and Cultural Heritage, International Higher Education and Strategic Projects; and Diversity. 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.
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