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March 24, 2021 (April 20, 2021)

New Undergraduate Paid Internship Program for Careers in Museums Announced by National Gallery of Art's Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Partnership with Howard University and Supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Melanee C. Harvey,  Richard J. Powell, and Steven Nelson at the 2019 James A. Porter Colloquium

Melanee C. Harvey,  Richard J. Powell, and Steven Nelson at the 2019 James A. Porter Colloquium

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art announced today that its Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (the Center) has established a multiyear undergraduate paid internship program in partnership with Howard University and with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This four-year pilot program aims to create pathways to careers in museums and arts-related organizations for students from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other institutions that serve populations that are underrepresented in the museum field. Following a planning phase focused on building an inclusive, equitable, and supportive infrastructure, the first cohort of students will join the National Gallery in the fall of 2022. Students may begin applying for the program in early 2022, with a specific deadline yet to be finalized.

"The National Gallery is honored to be working with Howard University to establish a program that will introduce students to academic art history and the museum sector. The National Gallery and Howard are deeply committed to the success of this effort, and with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we are confident that this program will be a major step forward in establishing a more diverse and inclusive museum field—one that truly represents our nation," said Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art.

"We are thrilled to be full partners in the creation and implementation of this pilot program with the National Gallery. This opportunity enables both institutions, together, to act as laboratories for learning professional skills, for Howard students and National Gallery staff, while understanding both collections in new ways," said Lisa Farrington, associate dean of the Division of Fine Arts at Howard University.

"The need to diversify the professions that intersect with museums is widely acknowledged, yet progress has been painfully slow," noted Mellon senior program officer Dianne Harris. "This grant—which will be led by the Center's dean, Steven Nelson—promises an exciting model for change, implemented through a partnership with two of the nation's finest and most highly esteemed institutions, the National Gallery of Art and Howard University. We look forward to watching as a new generation of outstanding museum professionals emerges from this innovative collaboration."

The National Gallery and the Center, in collaboration with Howard, are committed to ensuring undergraduate students will thrive through the development of a program that centers academic rigor and professional training. The Howard University College of Arts and Sciences has had an ongoing academic and career-focused partnership with the National Gallery and the Center since 2016. In 2019, the Center began cosponsoring Howard's historic James A. Porter Colloquium on African American Art. Melanee C. Harvey, assistant professor and coordinator of art history at Howard, is the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts Paul Mellon Guest Scholar for the 2020–2021 academic year.

Through two-year undergraduate paid internships (including summers), the Center will welcome cohorts of six students per year, giving them the tools to conduct deep research and providing them with closely mentored experiences in different areas of the museum. Students will gain field-specific knowledge, including a substantive introduction to art history, research methodologies, and practical skills, as well as more generalized insights into museum work. As members of the Center within the museum, students will join and strengthen networks that will empower them as they move forward in their careers. From technical to interpersonal aspects, the program will be structured to foster professional and intellectual development.

The program is designed for first- or second-year undergraduates, as those at the early stage of their academic career are particularly open about the possibilities before them. Internship applications will be welcome from any interested student who has been enrolled for at least one semester.

About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that comprises 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows, and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American PhD recipients than any other university in the United States. To learn more, visit howard.edu. Media Contact: Imani Pope-Johns, [email protected]

About the Center

Since its inception in 1979, the Center has promoted the study of the history, theory, and criticism of art, architecture, and urbanism through the formation of a community of scholars. A variety of private sources support the program of fellowships, and the appointments are ratified by the National Gallery's Board of Trustees. In selecting its members, the Center seeks a diverse pool of scholars in the visual arts.

The Center currently supports the Andrew W. Mellon Professor, a two-year appointment of a midcareer scholar; the Kress-Beinecke Professor, an appointment of one academic year of a distinguished scholar; and the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Professor, a three- to six-month appointment of a scholar who advances their own research on subjects associated with the National Gallery's permanent collection. In addition to various senior fellows, visiting senior fellows, a postdoctoral fellow, and predoctoral fellows, the Center announced in March 2020 the creation of Leonard A. Lauder Visiting Senior Fellowships to support scholars researching historically underrepresented areas of art-historical study. A board of advisors, composed of seven or eight art historians appointed to rotating terms, serves as a selection committee to review all fellowship applications.

In 1949, the National Gallery commenced the A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts to bring the people of the United States the results of the best contemporary thought and scholarship in the fine arts. The program, now under the Center's auspices, is named for Andrew W. Mellon, the National Gallery's founder, who gave the nation his art collection and funds to build the West Building, which opened to the public in 1941.

The Center publishes Symposium Papers as part of the National Gallery's series Studies in the History of Art, as well as Seminar Papers. Both series are available for purchase on shop.nga.gov. Volumes of Studies in the History of Art published more than five years ago can be accessed and downloaded on JSTOR. Center, an annual report published each fall, summarizes the research and activities that took place during the preceding academic year. Its full archive is available for free download on the National Gallery website.

Contact Information

General Information
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National Gallery of Art
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Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]

Chief of Communications
Anabeth Guthrie
phone: (202) 842-6804
e-mail: [email protected]

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