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News Room

Second Class of The Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellows Announced By Five Major American Museums

December 10, 2015

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ATLANTA—Dec. 10, 2015 – The Art Institute of Chicago, the High Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art are pleased to announce the second class of fellows designated for The Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program. The fellowship provides specialized training in the curatorial field to students across the United States who exemplify historically underrepresented groups in the curatorial field and support the goal of promoting pluralistic museums. The students began their fellowships this fall.

Fellows will participate in The Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program during their undergraduate career, with the goal of continuing their education through graduate work. The two-year fellowship will provide students with hands-on experience inside a museum setting, assisting curators and staff on exhibitions, collections, and programs. Fellows will be matched with a museum curatorial mentor who will work to enrich the academic experience and to increase exposure to the museum context while broadening a fellow’s understanding of art and art history. Fellowships include engagement during the academic school year followed by summer internships at a partner museum.

The Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program is supported by a five-year pilot phase grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The partner museums hope to host 2016 Summer Academies as a part of this program, and encourage potential applicants to check the institutions’ websites in the coming months for more information.

Selected fellows for the 2015–2017 program are as follows (full bios start on page 2):

• Art Institute of Chicago: Jarvis Boyland, University of Memphis; curatorial mentor, Mark Pascale, Janet and Craig Duchossois Curator of Prints and Drawings. Yady Rivero, University of Chicago; curatorial mentor, Victoria Sancho Lobis, Prince Trust Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings.

• High Museum of Art: Nina Goodall, University of Georgia; curatorial mentor, Katherine Jentleson, Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-taught Art. Karuna Srikureja, Emory University; curatorial mentor, Michael Rooks, Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

• Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Canan Cem, University of California, Los Angeles; curatorial mentor, Sharon Takeda, senior curator and department head of costume and textiles. Audrey Min, University of California, Los Angeles; curatorial mentor, Stephen Little, Florence and Harry Sloan Curator of Chinese Art, and Department Head, Chinese and Korean Art .

• The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: Emilia Duno, Rice University; curatorial mentor, Mari Carmen Ramírez, Wortham Curator of Latin American Art. Mai Kolkailah, University of Houston; curatorial mentor, Aimée Froom, curator of Arts of the Islamic Worlds. Adeleye Omotosho, University of Texas at Austin; curatorial mentor, Malcolm Daniel, curator in charge, department of photography.

• The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: Nicholas Olivares, Kansas City Art Institute; curatorial mentor, Colin Mackenzie, senior curator of Chinese art. Isabel Vargas, Kansas City Art Institute; curatorial mentor, Kimberly Masteller, Jeanne McCray Beals Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art.

“We are delighted to welcome the two newest Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial fellows to the Art Institute of Chicago,” said Douglas Druick, President and Eloise W. Martin Director at the Art Institute of Chicago. “As our past two Summer Academies and current fellows have demonstrated, we stand to learn as much from these bright, motivated students as they learn from us.”

“The High is committed to reflecting the diversity of our community via our acquisitions, exhibitions and programs,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. director of the High Museum of Art. “This important fellowship dovetails perfectly with this commitment, while simultaneously pointing to a bright future for these students and the field.”

“It is a pleasure to see the Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship program take root at LACMA and at our peer institutions around the country,” said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director. “With each group of fellows, new voices and new perspectives are emerging in the museum field. We will feel the effects of this program for years to come.”

“As the second year of the Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship unfolds, we are pleased to be able to offer three additional, highly deserving young students the opportunity to immerse themselves in our curatorial departments, and to offer us fresh perspectives on making art accessible to our visitors,” said Gary Tinterow, Director, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

“Diversity is paramount and providing experiences for people who otherwise might not have considered a career in the arts is enriching for all. This vital program allows exceptional students the opportunity to gain a true understanding of how a great art institution like the Nelson-Atkins operates,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, CEO and Director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. “The fresh perspective brought by these students creates an environment in which we learn as much from this program as they do from us. We welcome these talented students, and are grateful for the Mellon Foundation’s generous support in fostering this new wave of curatorial leadership.”


Art Institute Chicago

Jarvis Boyland is entering his third year at the University of Memphis. He is a studio art major with a concentration in painting and a minor in art history.  He is interested in contemporary genre painting and heavily inspired by working class and social justice issues. Jarvis has been active on his campus and received the 2014 Donald K. Carson Leadership Scholarship. Jarvis is a proud born-and-raised Memphian; he loves fried foods and desserts. His curatorial mentor is Mark Pascale, Janet and Craig Duchossois Curator of Prints and Drawings.

Yady Rivero likes media theory and public sculptures. She was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and immigrated to Miami, Florida when she was a baby. Fast-forward sixteen years and she can be found in the Midwest, a Quest Scholar at the University of Chicago, trying to make sense of our social relationships to cultural objects. Yady is interested in taking an interdisciplinary approach to explore the political role of art and art institutions. Victoria Sanchos Lobis, Prince Trust Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings, is her curatorial mentor.

High Museum of Art

Nina Goodall is a junior at the University of Georgia (UGA) and is a part of the UGA Honors Program. She is majoring in art history and has a minor in Spanish. She is involved with UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, where she researches Latin American modern art. Nina plans to complete a thesis paper regarding her research and submit it to the UGA Symposium by her senior year. While at the High, Nina’s curatorial mentor is Katherine Jentleson, Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-taught Art.

Karuna Srikureja is an undergraduate at Emory University, double majoring in art history and psychology. She has volunteered as a docent and assisted in community events at the Michael C. Carlos Museum. Karuna is especially interested in South and Southeast Asian historical art and the contemporary international art scene. Her interests have been influenced by her multicultural upbringing. While she is from a Sikh Indian family, she was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, where she attended international school. While at the High Museum, Karuna’s curatorial mentor is Michael Rooks, Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Canan Cem is studying art history with a minor in anthropology at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Born and raised in London, she is first generation American, born to Turkish Cypriot parents. She is inspired by the power of communication through visual arts and imparting information through curatorial strategies. Canan plans to focus her studies on Mediterranean identities, particularly the island of Cyprus, a place full of exciting art, architecture, and archaeology in need of preservation and awareness. This is the inspiration for her future career as a curator, in field research, and teaching. Sharon Takeda, senior curator and department head of costume and textiles, is her curatorial mentor.

Audrey Min is entering her third year at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), pursuing a double degree in history and art history. She is interested in modern and contemporary art, as well as Asian American and East Asian art. Audrey first became involved in curatorial work as an officer in UCLA’s Art Science Undergraduate Society, an experience that prompted her to consider art’s capability to circulate ideas and incorporate diverse content. A graduate of the Ryman Arts and California State Summer School for the Arts programs, Audrey hopes to integrate her fine arts training into her study of art history and the historical contexts and processes that led to the creation of contemporary culture. Her curatorial mentor is Stephen Little, Florence and Harry Sloan Curator of Chinese Art, and Department Head, Chinese and Korean Art.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Emilia Duno attends Rice University and is majoring in art history, philosophy, and Latin American studies. Emilia had her first introduction to curatorial work as a high school intern in the film department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston under the supervision of Marian Luntz, Curator of Film and Video. Following the 2014 Mellon Summer Academy, Emilia served as a research assistant at Sicardi Gallery and was awarded the John & Dominique de Menil Fellowship (2015–2016), which has provided her the opportunity to work in the Menil Collection under the guidance of the museum’s curatorial department. At Rice University, Emilia serves as the Vice President for the Art History Club and as an Internal Vice Chair of the Academic Honor Council (2013–present). Emilia’s interests in art history focus on Latin American art; she is particularly excited about the opportunity to work with the renowned MFAH collection of Latin American art as a Mellon Fellow under the guidance of her curatorial mentor, Mari Carmen Ramírez, The Wortham Curator of Latin American Art.

Mai Kolkailah attends the University of Houston, where she is majoring in art history with a minor in studio art. She moved to Houston after graduating high school from the B.B.C. International School in Cairo, Egypt. Her decision to study art history and studio art was cultivated by visiting artists’ studios and learning about diverse artistic techniques and styles. During her studies in Egypt, she visited artists who practiced traditional techniques for making papyrus paper and carving stones. Based on these experiences, Mai has a passion for sharing Egyptian history and culture through art, and volunteers to teach students about Egyptian art, history, and the Arabic alphabet at Black Elementary School in Aldine, Texas. Mai’s curatorial mentor is Aimée Froom, curator of Arts of the Islamic Worlds.

Adeleye Omotosho is majoring in art history at the University of Texas at Austin. As a first generation Nigerian-American of Yoruba heritage, he is dedicated to creating platforms for artists of color. At the University of Texas at Austin, he is an active member of Association of Black Fine Arts Students (ABFAS), and he has worked as a student research coordinator at the Center for the Art of Africa and its Diasporas (CAAD). He has community experience assisting with museum programs at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center in Austin, Texas, and he worked on an art exhibition organized by the La Tinaia Art Therapy Center in Florence, Italy. Malcolm Daniel, curator in charge, department of photography, is his curatorial mentor.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Nicholas Olivares is a student at the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) majoring in painting and creative writing. While growing up in Austin, he earned numerous awards for his work, notably All State Artist (2010–2014) and a Scholastic Art and Writing National Gold Medal for printmaking (2014) while attending McCallum Fine Arts Academy. Nicholas discovered an interest in art curation while exhibiting his work in local museums, including The Contemporary Austin and the Pump Project Art Complex, and observing firsthand how these museums function. He later held volunteer and intern positions at the Blanton Museum at UT-Austin. Nicholas has volunteered for several community initiatives including the Empty Bowls project, an Esme Barrera Memorial project, and the annual Austin Museum Day. His curatorial mentor is Colin Mackenzie, senior curator of Chinese art.

Isabel Vargas is a student at the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) pursuing a double major in art history and painting. Born in New York City and raised in Miami, Isabel committed to learning about and practicing art early in life. Her dedication earned her acceptance into Design Architecture Senior High (DASH), an art-centered magnet program. While at DASH, an enthusiastic teacher of the AP art history class sparked Isabel’s interest in the field. Her fascination with curation began at KCAI as she prepared for her semester-end exhibitions, which required a thoughtful approach for the selection and presentation of her own artwork. While Isabel’s art draws from her lived experiences and her exploration of women’s issues within intellectual spaces and media, she looks forward to learning about and experiencing the breadth of art history and curating. Isabel’s curatorial mentor is Kimberly Masteller, Jeanne McCray Beals Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art.


Art Institute of Chicago 

Amanda Hicks | Director of Public Affairs | (312) 443-7297 | ahicks@artic.edu

High Museum of Art 

Marci Tate | Manager of Public Relations | (404) 733-4585 | marci.tate@woodruffcenter.org

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) 

Miranda Carroll | Communications Director | (323) 857-6543 | mcarroll@lacma.org
Erin Yokomizo | Communications Associate | (323) 932-5825 | eyokomizo@lacma.org

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) 

Mary Haus | Marketing and Communications Director | (713) 639-7712 | mhaus@mfah.org
Laine Lieberman | Publicist | (713) 639-7516 | llieberman@mfah.org

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 

Kathleen Leighton | Manager, Media Relations and Video Production | (816) 751-1321 | kleighton@nelson-atkins.org

About the Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is a world-renowned art museum housing one of the largest permanent collections in the United States. An encyclopedic museum, the Art Institute collects, preserves, and displays works in every medium from all cultures and historical periods as well as hosts special exhibitions. With a collection of more than 260,000 art works and artifacts, the museum has particularly strong holdings in Impressionist and Post Impressionist painting, early 20th-century European painting and sculpture, contemporary art, Japanese prints, and photography. The museum’s 2009 addition, the Modern Wing, features the latest in green museum technology and 264,000 square feet dedicated to modern and contemporary art, photography, architecture and design, and new museum education facilities. In addition to displaying its permanent collection, the Art Institute mounts approximately 40 special exhibitions per year and features lectures, gallery tours, and special performances on a daily basis. Location and Contact: 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603 | (312) 443-3600 | artic.edu

About the High Museum of Art
The High is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 15,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American art; a significant collection of historic and contemporary decorative arts and design; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography, folk and self-taught art, and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists. For more information about the High, visit www.high.org. Location and Contact: 1280 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30309 | (404) 733-4400 | high.org

About the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Since its inception in 1965, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography, in addition to representing Los Angeles’s uniquely diverse population. Today LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection that includes nearly 130,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present, encompassing the geographic world and nearly the entire history of art. Among the museum’s strengths are its holdings of Asian art, Latin American art, ranging from pre-Columbian masterpieces to works by leading modern and contemporary artists; and Islamic art, of which LACMA hosts one of the most significant collections in the world. A museum of international stature as well as a vital part of Southern California, LACMA shares its vast collections through exhibitions, public programs, and research facilities that attract over a million visitors annually, in addition to serving millions through digital initiatives, such as online collections, scholarly catalogues, and interactive engagement at lacma.org. Situated in Hancock Park on over 20 acres in the heart of Los Angeles, LACMA is located between the ocean and downtown. Location and Contact: 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036 | (323) 857-6000 | lacma.org

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH)
Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States. Located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the MFAH comprises two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, theater, two art schools, and two libraries, with two house museums, for American and European decorative arts, nearby. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers some 65,000 works and spans the art of antiquity to the present. Location and Contact: 1001 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005 | (713) 639-7300 | mfah.org

About The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America’s finest art museums. The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access and insight into its renowned collection of more than 33,500 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and new American Indian and Egyptian galleries. Housing a major art research library and the Ford Learning Center, the Museum is a key educational resource for the region. The institution-wide transformation of the Nelson-Atkins has included the 165,000-square-foot Bloch Building expansion and renovation of the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building. The Nelson-Atkins is committed to connecting people of all ages with meaningful art experiences. Through its partnerships with Kansas City community, civic, and cultural organizations and the national and international arts community, The Nelson-Atkins welcomes and engages the diverse population of Kansas City and the surrounding region with enriching exhibitions, cultural programs, and educational activities. Location and Contact: 4525 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO 64111 | (816) 751-1278 | nelson-atkins.org

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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