Mining the Museum

Mining the Museum

During the fall of 2016, ART PAPERS commissioned a group of Spelman College curatorial studies students to curate a hypothetical exhibition from two art collections belonging to historically black colleges in Atlanta; working with their professor, Dr. Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd, these young curators were instructed to consider the theme, “Home”—a noun, and perhaps a state of being, upon which this November/December issue is atmospherically based. The selection of texts and images that follows is the result of this exercise, which has yielded an exhibition catalogue, of sorts, introduced by Beauchamp-Byrd and featuring collections that are well known neither in nor outside the city they call home. 

This digital exhibit is a reproduction of this collaboration.

We are extremely excited about this project, a collaborative effort between participants in my Fall 2016 Mining the Museum class at Spelman College, and ART PAPERS.

The newly-established Spelman Curatorial Studies program, established through the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is administered by the Spelman Department of Art & Art History and the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.  The program, a two-year course of study, began in January 2016 with an introductory Curatorial Studies course. It seeks to address the lack of diversity in art museum-based curatorial and other leadership positions, and to offer new opportunities for graduates to work in an expanding curatorial field. 

Spelman Curatorial Studies students selected works they felt connected to the theme of Home from the distinguished fine art collections held at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, with its mission to “inspire and enrich the lives of the Spelman College community and the general public primarily through art by women of the African Diaspora,” and the Atlanta University Center (AUC) Robert W. Woodruff Library, which provides library services and resources for Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, and Spelman College.

This project became a key component of our Mining the Museum course this semester, during which students selected works, conducted research, and drafted and edited interpretive text. Above all, it provided Mining the Museum class participants (Nalani Dowling, Courtney Greene, Kela Jackson, Jordan Mayfield, Jayson Overby, Camille Ragland, Aishia Ricks, Cornelia Stokes, and Lauren Wilson) with an opportunity to engage in curatorial and editorial processes while simultaneously showcasing the distinguished art collections found at the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library and at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art., and highlighting the Spelman College Curatorial Studies program.

Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd, PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History and Curatorial Studies,
Spelman College