Danille Taylor, Professor of African American Studies at Clark Atlanta University, Named New Director of University’s Historical Art Museum
Atlanta, GA (August 9, 2023) - Clark Atlanta University recently named Danille Taylor, Ph.D., as the Director of its art museum (CAUAM). Taylor is a professor of African American Studies at the University and has served as interim museum director since August 2022. Under her leadership, the museum reopened in October 2022 with three new exhibitions, including “Our Friend Jean, the Early Works of Jean Michele Basquiat,” which drew more than 1300 attendees during its week-long run.
“Dr. Taylor’s experience, determination, and perseverance serve her well in this role,” said Jaideep Chaudhary, Dean and Professor of the School of Arts and Sciences. “Danille was instrumental in bringing the collective works of Basquiat, one of the museum’s most successful exhibitions, to Clark Atlanta University. Additionally, she led the charge to secure and curate two more exhibits for the 2022-2023 exhibition season: “From Black Spring to the Eternal” and “The Audacious Platform.” CAUAM is thriving under her leadership, and her efforts to advance the museum to the next level are meritorious.”
Dr. Taylor brings 17 years of experience in higher education administration to her role. Her background includes serving at three universities as Dean of the schools in which art museums were housed. This facilitated her development of appropriate strategies aligned with Clark Atlanta Art Museum's mission and purpose. In addition to her work as a professor and educator, she studied under Edmund Barry Gaither at Boston University, founder of the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Boston, and the first president of the African American Museum Association, where she became grounded in African American visual art history. Moreover, Dr. Taylor, alongside famed artist Dr. Margaret Burroughs, served on the Board of Directors at Chicago’s renowned DuSable Museum of African American History, where she garnered intimate exposure to the museum’s collections, management, finances, educational mission, and programming. While in Illinois, Taylor also taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
CAU administrator and visual artist Sam D. Burston states, “While serving as Interim Director, I have observed Dr. Taylor’s commitment and passion for the CAU Art Museum. In her new role as Director, she will not only elevate the university treasure to a renewed level of excellence and awareness; she will also develop programs and key initiatives which will honor the legacy of its founder, Hale Woodruff, while showcasing the significant essence of African American culture through our historic art collection.”
Under Dr. Taylor’s tenure as interim director, Clark Atlanta University began its work as a member of the inaugural group of HBCUs to participate in the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s HBCU History and Culture Access Consortium to digitize the permanent collection and complete the conservation of the Hale
Woodruff murals “The Art of the Negro.” A grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS) for $100,000 has also been secured to hire a registrar/collection manager.
Dr. Taylor earned her bachelor’s degree in English and African American Studies, a Master of Arts degree from Boston University in African American Studies, and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in American Studies from Brown University. She is editor of Conversations with Toni Morrison and coeditor of The Cambridge Companion to African American Women’s Writing.
About Clark Atlanta University
Clark Atlanta University was formed with the consolidation of Atlanta University and Clark College, both of which hold unique places in the annals of African American history. Atlanta University, established in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, was the nation’s first institution to award graduate degrees to African Americans. Clark College, established four years later in 1869, was the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African American student population. Today, with nearly 4,000 students, CAU is the largest of the four institutions (CAU, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Morehouse School of Medicine) that comprise the Atlanta University Center Consortium. It is also the largest of the 37-member UNCF institutions. Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson, American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter (Lift Every Voice and Sing, “The Black National Anthem”; Ralph David Abernathy, Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank
Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit www.cau.edu.