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High Museum of Art Names Andrea Barnwell Brownlee the 2013 Recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize Share a Spelman College Press Release



Media Contacts:
Audrey Arthur
Spelman College

Kristen Heflin
High Museum of Art

ATLANTA (Feb. 18, 2013) -- The High Museum of Art today named Dr. Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, C'93, the 2013 recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize.

An Atlanta resident, art historian, curator and writer, Brownlee is the director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, the only U.S. museum dedicated to visual art made by and about women of the African Diaspora. As the ninth Driskell Prize recipient, Brownlee will be honored at the Driskell Prize Dinner in Atlanta on April 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the High Museum of Art’s Wieland Pavilion.

The Driskell Prize recognizes a scholar or artist in the beginning or middle of his or her career whose work makes an original and important contribution to the field of African American art or art history. The annual award is named for the renowned African American artist and art scholar.

Andrea Barnwell Brownlee’s leadership for the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art has helped engage thousands of visitors through highly significant exhibitions and acquisitions,” said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., Director of the High. “Her vision for the museum and passion for the arts exemplifies the qualities of the David C. Driskell Prize.”

The selection process for the 2013 recipient of the Driskell Prize began with a call for nominations from a national pool of artists, curators, teachers, collectors and art historians. Brownlee was chosen from these nominations by review committee members assembled by the High Museum of Art, this year including the High’s Michael Rooks, curator of modern and contemporary art; Lily Siegel, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art; and 2011 Driskell Prize recipient Valerie Cassel Oliver.

This year’s Driskell Prize Dinner is co-chaired by Joe Bankoff, Juanita Baranco and Ingrid Saunders Jones with Honorary Chair Sally McDaniel. Tickets for the black tie event can be purchased by contacting Rhonda Matheison at or 404-733-4403.

About Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Ph.D.
Brownlee is widely recognized for her leadership, ambitious vision and the impactful exhibition agenda she established at Spelman College. Spelman exhibitions Brownlee’s curated or co-curated include:

•    iona rozeal brown: a³ . . . black on both sides (2004)
•    Amalia Amaki: Boxes, Buttons and the Blues (2005)
•    Hale Woodruff, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet and the Academy (2007)
•    Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970 (2007)
•    María Magdalena Campos-Pons: Dreaming of an Island (2008)
•    Undercover: Performing and Transforming Black Female Identities (2009), and
•    IngridMwangiRobertHutter: Constant Triumph (2011)

During spring 2012, Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970, which she co-curated with Cassel Oliver, senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, earned international recognition when it was featured in the 11th Havana Biennial, an achievement marking the first time a curatorial team from the U.S. was invited to participate in the official program of the Havana Biennial, the longest running international biennial dedicated to presenting works of art from Latin America, Asia and Africa.

In 2011, Brownlee spearheaded 15 x 15, an initiative to acquire 15 works of art in celebration of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art’s 15th anniversary. An alumna of Spelman College, Brownlee earned her Ph.D. in art history from Duke University in 2001. Also an alumna of the Getty Leadership Institute, Brownlee is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors. She served on the boards of several arts organizations including the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences and the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund and has recently joined the board of WonderRoot. In 2008, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin selected Brownlee to serve as vice chair of the City of Atlanta Arts Funding Task Force.

In addition to the Driskell Prize, Brownlee previously earned numerous academic, professional and scholarly awards including a MacArthur Curatorial Fellowship in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Art Institute of Chicago (1998 – 2000), a Future Women Leadership Award from Art Table (2005), and the President’s Award from the Women’s Caucus for Art (2005). In 2010, Brownlee received the inaugural Nexus Award from the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center.

About the David C. Driskell Prize
Established by the High in 2005, the David C. Driskell Prize is the first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of African American art and art history. Past recipients include artist Rashid Johnson (2012), scholar Valerie Cassel Oliver (2011), artist Renee Stout (2010), Krista A. Thompson (2009), artist Xaviera Simmons (2008), curator Franklin Sirmans (2007), artist Willie Cole (2006) and Dr. Kellie Jones (2005). A cash award of $25,000 accompanies the prize. Proceeds from the High’s annual Driskell Prize Dinner go toward both the David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisitions Fund and the David C. Driskell African American Art Endowment. Through the David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisitions Fund, the High acquired works by artists including Radcliffe Bailey, Nick Cave, Willie Cole, John T. Scott and Renee Stout.

About David C. Driskell
David Driskell is a practicing artist and scholar whose work on the African Diaspora spans more than four decades. The High’s relationship with Driskell began in 2000, when the Museum presented the concurrent exhibitions “To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities” and “Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection,” which examined African American art in the broad historical context of modern and contemporary art. Born in 1931 in Eatonton, Ga., Driskell is distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Howard University in 1955 and his master of fine arts degree from Catholic University in 1962. He also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine in 1953 and studied art history in The Hague, the Netherlands, in 1964. More information about Driskell is available at

About the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art
The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art provides a learning environment for students, faculty, staff, and alumnae. Museum activities enhance the cultural and intellectual development of Spelman College and the larger community through the collection, preservation, exhibition and interpretation of important works of art. As the only museum in the nation that focuses on works by and about women of the African Diaspora in its collections, exhibitions and programs, the museum serves as a complement to local, regional, national and international art resources. For more information visit

About the High Museum of Art
Founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, the High Museum of Art is the leading art museum in the Southeastern U.S. With more than 13,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists and is distinguished as the first major museum in North America to have a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of folk and self-taught art. In November 2005, the High opened three new buildings by architect Renzo Piano that more than doubled the museum’s size, creating a vibrant “village for the arts” at the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown Atlanta. For more information visit

About The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines four visual and performing arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opened in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences. To learn more visit


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