2018 Curatorial Research Project

Left to right: Jade Flint, Amanda Lane, Dalia Kijakazi, Tykira Beasley, Vashti Jenkins Taylor, and Janeth Ruiz Garcia.

On June 3, the Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative welcomed six undergraduate students from around the country to participate in the second Summer Curatorial Research Project:

  • Jade Flint, Howard University
  • Vashti Jenkins, Florida A&M
  • Tykira Beasley, Elizabeth City State University
  • Janeth Ruiz Garcia, University of Texas-Permian Basin
  • Dalia Kijakazi, Spelman College
  • Amanda Lane, Whittier College

The students spent the following eight weeks reseraching Mesoamerican ceramic objects from the collection of The Fralin Museum of Art under the guidance of Adriana Greci Green, Curator of Inidgenous Art of the Americas and two UVA graduate students, Natalie Pope (Anthropology) and Matthew Richey (Spanish). Their research efforts resulted in a new exhibition in the Object Study Gallery in The Fralin titled "Beyond Feasting: A Window into Ancient Mesoamerica." Each student will also present their individual research at the Leadership Alliance National Symposium in Hartford, CT at the end of July. 

The students attended workshops in exhibition developement, museum education, conservation, collections management, and issues in curating Indigenous art led by staff from the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection. They also retraced the steps of the 2017 Curatorial Students by visiting museums in DC & Richmond, the Pamunkey Indian Museum, and Monticello and meeting with professionals in the arts, public history and museum fields. An additional museum was added this year, the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, which is located here in Charlottesville. The students toured the permanent exhibition and met local artist Frank Walker, who's work was on display at JSAAHC. 



2017 Curatorial Research Project


Curatorial students and staff. Photo by Tom Cogill, courtesy of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection.

The Summer Curatorial Research Project 2017 participants were Caitlyn Keeve (California), Rosalba Ponce (California), India Ferguson (Florida), Imani Williford (New York), and Jake Martin (Oklahoma). Henry Skerritt, Curator of Indigenous Arts of Australia at Kluge-Ruhe, led the students' curatorial practicum, which consisted of researching and curating an exhibition from start to finish. Each student researched several paintings or sculptures that were recently donated to Kluge-Ruhe by Stephen and Agatha Luczo. Then, the students wrote and edited content for wall labels, gallery panels, and catalog essays. The final exhibition is titled "Songs of a Secret Country" and will be on display at Kluge-Ruhe until July 1, 2018.

In addition to the curatorial practicum, students attended museum practice workshops and lectures at The Fralin Museum of Art on topics such as art handling, conservation, and museum education. The students also visited several area museums including the Pamunkey Indian Museum and Reservation in King William, VA, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA, Monticello in Charlottesville, VA, and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. During these field trips, students met with museum professionals and got the chance to go behind the scenes in collections storage!