Preparing Students to Work as Curators, Thanks to New Mellon Foundation Grant

October 16, 2019

The Graduate Center's art history department received $650,000 in renewed funding for its successful curatorial training program.


The Graduate Center’s Ph.D. Program in Art History was awarded a grant of $650,000 by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the training of future curators and other museum and arts professionals.
The grant builds on previous support from the Mellon Foundation that enabled the department to strengthen curatorial training in art history, with a particular focus on topics in modern and contemporary art.
With the new funds, the program plans to sponsor courses, co-taught by curators and Graduate Center faculty, at area museums, including an upcoming course with Professor Judy Sund (Art History) that will focus on the spring 2020 exhibition “The Tudors” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a course on curatorial practice, co-taught by Professor Claire Bishop (Art History) and Katherine Carl, curator of the James Gallery and deputy director of the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center.
The funds will also sponsor student curatorial fellowships: Kirsten Gill at the Dia Art Foundation, and Gwen Shaw at the Newark Museum. Among the many other uses for the funds, a student from the curatorial practice course will be chosen to realize an exhibition at the James Gallery.
“The Mellon grant will help us educate curators who will diversify and expand the boundaries of our field,” said Professor Rachel Kousser (GC/Brooklyn, Art History/Art), the executive officer of the Ph.D. Program in Art History. “We are incredibly grateful.” 
The program used the previous funding to develop closer links with museums and exhibition institutions in the New York City area through teaching and fellowships. In recent years, students who received curatorial fellowships included Horacio Ramos, at El Museo del Barrio; Maya Harakawa, at the Whitney Museum; and Matilde Guidelli-Guidi, at Dia. Guidelli-Guidi was later hired by Dia to be an assistant curator.