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Home News 2017 Clark Atlanta University Among 20 Select U.S. Institutions Receiving Funding to Increase Diversity in Art Museum Leadership

Clark Atlanta University Among 20 Select U.S. Institutions Receiving Funding to Increase Diversity in Art Museum Leadership

Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Contact: Donna L. Brock

ATLANTA (DEC. 12, 2017)—Clark Atlanta University Art Museum is among 20 prestigious U.S. art museums that will receive funding announced Nov. 28 by The Walton Family Foundation and Ford Foundation as part of the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative (DAMLI), supporting creative solutions to diversify curatorial and management staff at art museums across the United States. Both foundations will commit $3 million over three years. Clark Atlanta University Art Museum will receive $139,432 to establish The Tina Dunkley Fellowship in American Art, a joint post-baccalaureate fellowship program with Kennesaw State University’s Zuckerman Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.

The University’s DAMLI award is a matching grant, which will require the institution to raise $50,000 over the next two years.

Dunkley, named curator emerita of CAU’s Art Museum at her retirement in 2015, built the permanent collection from 291 to more than 1,200 works during her nearly 25-year tenure as director. Dunkley also served as director of Georgia State University’s Gallery of Art from 1987 to 1994 and briefly taught art at Spelman College. Her successor at Clark Atlanta, Director Maurita Poole, Ph.D., continues her work and sought the DAMLI funding as another means to advance Dunkley’s path-making legacy.

Clark Atlanta University President Ronald A. Johnson says, “Tina Dunkley is most certainly a trailblazer. Not only was she an African-American museum director—a rarity in her field, but she also stewarded one of the nation’s richest, most historic artistic treasures and, without a wealth of resources, fiercely shepherded its quality and integrity so that it today remains one of the nation’s most prestigious collection African-American art, certainly among the nation’s higher education art museums. Dr. Poole, in only two years, has demonstrated the expertise and passion that will ensure that this brand of leadership, along with the high standards that characterize it, continues. This fellowship absolutely affirms the necessity and importance of this work.”

Recent studies have shown that the staff and leadership of art museums do not adequately reflect the socio-economic and racial demographics of the country. According to a national study by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, only 16 percent of art museum leadership positions were held by people of color, despite the fact that 38 percent of Americans identify as Asian, Black, Hispanic or multi-racial.

Through DAMLI, which is fiscally sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Ford Foundation and Walton Family Foundation will support innovative strategies and programs to advance diversity across the sector, including hiring professionals from under-represented populations and offering fellowships, mentorships, and other career development options for diverse professionals. Clark Atlanta’s Dunkley Fellowship will commence with a call for applicants in January 2018. Two Dunkley Fellows will be announced in June 2018, and will assume paid, two-year, part-time placements at the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum and the Zuckerman Art Museum beginning in July 2018. The Dunkley Fellows also will participate in a one-week-long residency at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. In addition to mentoring by high-level museum management and curatorial staff, the fellows also will participate in the development of exhibitions, work with museum collections, conduct research and complete a final project.

“For museums to be truly inviting public spaces, they must better reflect the communities they serve. Achieving diversity requires a deeper commitment: To hire and nurture leaders from all backgrounds. This initiative creates the opportunity for museums to build a more inclusive culture within their institutions,” said Alice Walton, founder and board chair of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

“The arts play an essential role in our society by inspiring people of all ages to dream and to imagine new possibilities for themselves, their communities, and the world. To ensure the future health and vibrancy of the arts in America, we need more arts leaders who understand and relate to the deeply varied perspectives and life experiences that weave the rich fabric of our nation,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation.

“We are indeed proud to be included among this cadre of institutions and are grateful to the Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation for their largesse,” Poole says. “Tina Dunkley throughout her career set and maintained sterling standards of professional excellence. To welcome others onto her path bodes well not only for diversifying museum leadership, but it also helps sustain a high level of administrative acumen and, most important, artistic depth, particularly in the field of American Art.”

For a full list of museums receiving DAMLI funding, click here.

Clark Atlanta University Art Museum (formerly Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries) provides a range of aesthetic and educational experiences for the Clark Atlanta University community and the general public. The museum disseminates knowledge about and stimulates interest in African and African Diaspora art through exhibitions, programs, and publications, placing African American fine art in conversation with key art movements and intellectual currents of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Selections from the collection are displayed regularly in the gallery on the second floor of Trevor Arnett Hall, located on the University’s Main Campus, Tuesday through Friday from 11a.m. to 4 p.m., as well as by appointment. For more on the CAU Art Museum.

Category: Faculty
Keywords: Tina Dunkley, DAMLI