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Spelman Junior Becomes 2nd HBCU Student to be Named Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellow Share a Spelman College Press Release


Jazmyn Burton
Spelman College
Marci Davis 
High Museum of Art
Destinee Filmore Mellon FellowshipATLANTA (November 14, 2019) –
A Spelman College art history and international studies double major is the second student from the College to earn a 2019–2021 Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship.

Destinee Fillmore joins an incoming cohort of 12 students selected to participate in the competitive program, which was designed to encourage undergraduates to pursue graduate studies in art history and curation. 

Fillmore began her two-year fellowship at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art this fall where she works with curators and staff on exhibitions, collections and programs.

The fellowship, which is in its fifth year, also provides specialized training to students from across the country who belong to cultural groups that have been historically underrepresented in the curatorial field.

“To my knowledge, I am the second HBCU student and the second Spelmanite to be selected for the program, the first being Spelman alumna Kéla Jackson,” said Filmore. “I'm excited to be a part of a program that promotes the future of inclusive, pluralistic museums.”

Filmore credits Jackson and Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Ph.D., director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, with mentoring and encouraging her success.

“Destinee is an accomplished, enthusiastic, and highly capable student who will be an asset to the field of art history and the future of museums. She consistently demonstrates a consciousness and a commitment to detail that are noteworthy,” said Dr. Brownlee. “Her selection as an Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow further extends the established relationship that Spelman College has with the High Museum of Art. The hands-on opportunities, mentoring, and the relationships that she will forge with a network of peer fellows will expand her curricular horizons and be helpful as she prepares for the next phase of her academic career.”

d filmoreIn order to broaden their network, fellows are matched with a curatorial mentor who works to enrich the academic experience and increase exposure to the museum while broadening the fellow’s understanding of art and art history.

“As we welcome a new class of Mellon Fellows to the High, we reflect on the remarkable impact this program has had on our institution, but also look forward to how it will continue to shape the future of the field,” said Rand Suffolk, the Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High Museum of Art. “Bringing diverse perspectives to museum leadership will help to ensure that our organizations remain relevant and essential in our communities. We are honored to continue this important work with the support of the Mellon Foundation.”

Filmore intends to pursue a doctoral degree in art history and aspires to become a curator. She is also interested in advocating for the accessibility of arts-based education programs for low-income students, and students of color.

Since the program began in 2014, 30 fellows have completed the Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship program. Two fellows have started the Ph.D., program in art history at Harvard University, while nine others have completed Master's degrees or are enrolled in graduate programs across the country. 

About the High Museum of Art
The High is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States, housed within facilities designed by Pritzker Prize- winning architects Richard Meier and Renzo Piano. With more than 16,000 works of art, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American fine and decorative arts; major holdings of photography and folk and self-taught work, especially that reflective of the American south; burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art including paintings, sculpture, new media, and design; a growing collection of African art with work dating from pre-history to the present day; and significant holdings of European paintings and works on paper. The High is dedicated to a program reflective of the diversity of its communities, offering a variety of exhibitions and educational programs as well as a host of new experiences that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process. 

About Spelman College 
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News and World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 57 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 22 for undergraduate teaching and No. 6 for both innovation and social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 13th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and partnerships have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit



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