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Spelman Represented Among the 2021 Cohort of Center for Curatorial Leadership Fellows

January 2021

Spelman alumnae Anne Collins Smith and Adrienne Edwards

Anne Collins Smith, C’96, curator of collections at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, and Adrienne Edwards, C'96, Engell Speyer Family Curator and curator of performance for the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, earned spots among the 2021 class of the Center for Curatorial Leadership fellows.

Smith and Edwards will join a dozen fellows from museums across the United States and Mexico who were selected based on their exceptional curatorial achievements, demonstrated innovative thinking and commitment to advancing the field.

"Engaging with the Center for Curatorial Leadership has been a dream of mine for some time. My acceptance into the program is a testament to dedication, perseverance and persistence," said Smith. "I am excited about the program’s intensive examination of curatorial practice and its relevance to our shared humanity. This experience will engender me to further develop and hone my role as a curatorial leader."

Participation in the 2021 program will be primarily virtual and include a custom-designed Columbia Business School curriculum, mentorship and an opportunity to connect with a diverse network of museum professionals while engaging in rigorous coursework.

Anne Collins Smith Smith, a native of New Orleans, is a cultural curator, art historian, and cultural worker in the literary, visual, and performing arts. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English and art history from Spelman College and an Master of Arts degree in visual arts administration from New York University. She served as an intern at the Cinque Gallery, which was founded by artists Romare Bearden, Ernest Crichlow and Norman Lewis. She was also the Romare Bearden Fellow at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Smith was the Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow at the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College where she began to fuse interdicisplinarity with her curatorial practice. At the Davis Museum, she curated the exhibition, "The Space Between: Artists Engaging Race and Syncretism." Smith’s interests include: arts, the economy, social uplift,arts leadership, audience development, cosmopolitanism; material culture, public art, and visual culture. She is also extremely interested in the evolving role of the curator, and, African Diasporic continuity in artistic and cultural practices.

Spelman Alumna Adrienne EdwardsPrior to being named the Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance at the Whitney Museum in 2018,  Edwards served for eight years as curator at Performa, a New York City arts organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance; she was also the curator-at-large for the Walker Art Center.

For Performa, Edwards realized new boundary-defying commissions, as well as pathfinding conferences and film programs with a wide range of over forty international artists. While at the Walker, she co-led the institution-wide Mellon Foundation Interdisciplinary Initiative, an effort to expand ways of commissioning, studying, collecting, documenting, and conserving cross-disciplinary works. 

Edwards’s curatorial projects have included the critically acclaimed exhibition and catalog "Blackness in Abstraction," hosted by Pace Gallery in 2016. She also organized Frieze’s Artist Award and Live program in New York in 2018.

A history major at Spelman, Edwards taught art history and visual studies at New York University and The New School, and she is a contributor to the National Gallery of Art’s Center for the Advanced Study in Visual Art’s forthcoming publication Black Modernisms.

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