The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the American Folk Art Museum a grant totaling $461,000 over three and a half years to develop the Museum Career Internship Program, an intensive work and study program organized with LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, New York.
The students selected for the fellowships will receive paid internships in departments such as Curatorial and Exhibitions, Education and Public Programs, Collections Management, and Library and Archival Resources. A major objective of the program is to encourage and foster more students of diverse backgrounds in their pursuit of museum careers.
“We are profoundly grateful to the Mellon Foundation for enabling the museum to welcome students and work closely with them, exposing them to the professional challenges and opportunities of this extraordinary museum and, hopefully, creating career possibilities for their futures,” commented Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, Executive Director of the American Folk Art Museum.
“The American Folk Art Museum’s annex is located one block away from LaGuardia Community College,” noted Alison Gilchrest, program officer at the Mellon Foundation. “This path-breaking partnership between the two institutions will not only bring students directly into the life of the museum; it will also begin to address two key issues of concern to the American Folk Art Museum and the museum field more broadly—increasing the pool of diverse students who pursue museum careers and sparking new interest in folk art studies.”
The American Folk Art Museum is uniquely positioned among art museums to embrace innovative solutions specific to the museum’s operations and relative to LaGuardia Community College, which is located but one block from the museum’s education and research center. Housed within this recently renovated space are the museum’s collection, library, and archives, in addition to gallery space and administrative offices. The Mellon Foundation grant will also enhance the museum’s ability to better engage the Queens community where the center is situated.
“The Mellon Foundation’s vital support will give LaGuardia students an invaluable opportunity to experience the inner workings of a great museum. We’re thrilled to partner with the American Folk Art Museum for an opportunity that will not only expand our students’ aesthetic perspective of fine art, but also will show them how knowledge and appreciation of the arts translates into a fulfilling and viable career choice,” said LaGuardia Community College President, Dr. Gail O. Mellow.
LaGuardia Community College currently maintains enrollment of 50,000 students in one of the most diverse communities in the U.S., with more than fifty degree, certificate, and continuing education programs. It has been documented that upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ family incomes increase 17%, and the number of students who go on to, or transfer into, four-year college programs is higher than the national average. LaGuardia Community College is a recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success in education for underserved students.
Michael Rodriguez, Chair of the Humanities Department at LaGuardia Community College, will serve as the coordinator of the program, working with Rachel Rosen, Director of Education at the museum.
“We cannot overstate the potential of this program,” said Professor Rodriguez. “We will involve students from a broad range of studies including philosophy, aesthetics, art and design, communications, media, and technology.”
The museum will begin the implementation phase of the grant in July 2015.
About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.
About LaGuardia Community College
LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.