LACMA and Arizona State Join Forces to Help Curators of Color

Posted May 8, 2018 12:07 a.m. EDT

In the museum world, there is an increasing sense of emergency about how few curators of color are coming up through the ranks. Now two institutions are trying to do something about it.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is teaming up with the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University to establish a three-year program that combines academic training and work experience to develop a new generation of diverse curators, directors and other museum professionals.

The LACMA-ASU Masters Fellowship in Art History, announced Tuesday at the American Alliance of Museums Conference in Phoenix, will combine master’s-level coursework and a thesis with on-the-job work experience at LACMA or the Herberger’s art museum.

“We need things to start changing now,” said Michael Govan, LACMA’s chief executive and director. “Addressing it directly and speaking loudly sends a strong signal.”

The fellowship aims to address the hurdles aspiring curators face because of a lack of resources or the amount of time it takes to earn a graduate degree and accumulate sufficient work experience.

“Many of our collections are too culturally narrow, many of our institutions are reflective of insufficient diversity in artistic expression,” said Michael Crow, Arizona State’s president. “That means we need more perspectives from those folks who will ultimately be helping to run institutions.”