The University of Oklahoma has received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for $750,000 to support a four-year initiative to increase cultural diversity while seeking to grow a mutually beneficial relationship between OU's doctoral program in Native American art and the Institute of American Indian Arts. The comprehensive program will increase the representation of Native Americans in curatorial and academic positions through collaboration, creativity and commitment toward the goal.
"The university is extremely pleased to receive this grant from the Mellon Foundation. It is a recognition of OU's strong reputation in the field of Native American art," said President David L. Boren.
The program will include six core projects, including paid internships for the museum's Native American art collection and pre-doctoral fellowships, accompanied by a teaching assistantship to students dedicated to the study of Native American art and culture. A biannual museology course will provide graduate students an opportunity to study museum theories and practices and learn curatorial skills by building an exhibition from concept to installation using the museum's Native American art collections.
The OU School of Visual Arts' nationally competitive doctoral program in the study of Native American art will be expanded in order to broaden students' exposure to leaders in the field and improve their critical analysis of current scholarship. Graduate students will manage a symposium on a current topic in the field of Native American art history, museum studies and pedagogy, and a Mellon Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series will be established. Finally, the OU School of Visual Arts will collaborate with the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe to create a pipeline of institute graduates for OU's graduate program to study Native American art history.
The program will be led by heather ahtone, James T. Bialac Associate Curator of Native American and Non-Western Art at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art; W. Jackson Rushing III, Eugene B. Adkins Presidential Professor of Art History and Mary Lou Milner Carver Chair in Native American Art; and Mark Andrew White, Wylodean and Bill Saxon Director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.