ArtNews: VMFA Announces New Internship Funded by Souls Grown Deep Foundation

From the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts:

Fall/Winter 2018

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Image by Rita_Mae_Pettway__Housetop__Fractured_Medallion_Variation | Courtesy of VMFA Press

New grant program supports undergraduate students of color

Richmond, Virginia – The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is one of three U.S. art museums to participate in a new grant program supported by the Atlanta-based Souls Grown Deep Foundation. The program provides paid internships to undergraduate students of color, allowing for the opportunity to develop professional experience in art museums while being paid. The program will launch in the spring 2019 semester, providing $5,000 per intern, leading to full academic-year placements beginning in fall 2020, offering $10,000 per student. Students will apply for internships in relevant curatorial, registration conservation, education and/or administrative positions at art museums that have acquired art from the foundation.

Along with VMFA, the New Orleans Museum of Art and Philadelphia Museum of Art will participate in the program. All three museums are currently working toward exhibitions of their respective Souls Grown Deep Foundation acquisitions.

“The Souls Grown Deep Foundation’s internship program presents a new way to support the original aspirations of our founder William S. Arnett—that the artists we champion must be and are being championed by others,” said Dr. Maxwell L. Anderson, president of the foundation. “In light of recent research by the Mellon Foundation on the challenges of diversifying museum staff, we are especially proud to fill the need of supporting undergraduate students to encourage the pursuit of graduate education and/or a career in museums.”

Successful applicants will be able to work alongside curators, registrars, conservators, educators and administrators, working directly with art recently acquired from the foundation collection and gain experience in museum work in general. Each internship includes a trip to visit the foundation’s collection in Atlanta and the artists and communities it serves in the Southeast. Internships are open to undergraduate students of color interested in professions related to museums and visual arts. For information on applying, go to www.soulsgrowndeep.org/internships.

“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is excited to participate in this new grant program that aligns perfectly with our strategic goals of diversifying our collections, audience and staff,” says VMFA Director Alex Nyerges. “With this grant and internship opportunity, we look forward to playing a part in shaping the next generation of museum professionals.”

In May 2018, VMFA acquired 34 artworks by African American artists from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Selected works will be featured in a special exhibition from June 8 to Nov. 17, 2019. The exhibition will include drawings, paintings and assemblage sculptures by Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, Ronald Lockett, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Mose Tolliver, Jesse Aaron, James “Son Ford” Thomas and Purvis Young, along with a significant selection of quilts by the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama.

Founded in 2010, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation is dedicated to documenting, preserving and promoting the contributions of African American artists from the South, and the cultural traditions in which they are rooted. Central to this mission has been a series of gift/purchase agreements to transfer works from the foundation’s collection to leading art museums in the United States and providing opportunities for research, education and scholarly initiatives around this art. To date, works have been placed in seven museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. An ever-increasing number of art historians, curators, museum directors, art critics and journalists are studying, exhibiting and publishing the hundreds of objects being transferred. The internship program will invite interest in this art for new generations and continue to expand the depth of knowledge about African American artists from the South.

About the Souls Grown Deep Foundation
The Souls Grown Deep Foundation is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting the artwork by African American artists from the South. The foundation was established with the largest and foremost collection of works by African American artists from the Southern United States, which it is working to disburse into the collections of museums around the country to make the work accessible to the widest possible audience. The foundation advances its mission by advocating the contributions of these artists in the canon of American art history, accomplished through collection transfers, scholarship, education, public programs and publications. Through grants and other initiatives, the foundation has also extended its mission to serve those communities that gave rise to the visual traditions of the artists represented in its collection. For more information, visit www.soulsgrowndeep.org.

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 Media Contacts
Jan Hatchette | 804.204.2721 | jan.hatchette@vmfa.museum
Lillian Dunn | 804.340.1517  | lillian.dunn@vmfa.museum
200 N. Boulevard, Richmond VA 23220

Souls Grown Deep Foundation Media Contacts
Catherine Mastrangelo, Resnicow + Associates | 212-671-5162 | cmastrangelo@resnicow.com
Maria May, Resnicow + Associates | 214-207-6082 | mmay@resnicow.com

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