From Left to Right: Deja Belardo, Margarita Lila Rosa, Tsige Tafesse, Carla Forbes, Meredith Breech, Gee Wesley, Imani Williford, and Jenée-Daria Strand, Museum In Harlem

Studio Museum In Harlem Launches ‘Arts Leadership Praxis’ Professional Development Program

The Arts Leadership Praxis is an annual six-month professional development initiative designed for curators of color in the museum space.

The Studio Museum in Harlem has announced the launch of its Arts Leadership Praxis, an annual six-month initiative poised to empower cultural professionals of color and those invested in amplifying Black cultural narratives.

According to a press release, the groundbreaking program, meticulously crafted for early- to mid-career professionals, offers a supportive approach to professional growth and community-building. It underscores the museum’s unwavering commitment to redressing systemic inequities within arts institutions.

Throughout its 55 years, “The Studio Museum has long been committed to identifying and fulfilling educational and programmatic needs across the arts,” stated Thelma Golden, the museum’s director and chief curator, who was the 2023 recipient of the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. “I am especially thrilled to welcome this program on the heels of CCL/Studio Museum in Harlem CCurators’Forum,” shared Golden, noting the lack of representation of people of color in museum leadership nationwide.

The museum-initiated endeavor seamlessly aligns with the Studio Museum Institute’s multifaceted offerings of internships, fellowships, educational practicums, and professional seminars. The Arts Leadership Praxis is specifically designed to nurture the prowess of those with five to seven years of museum experience in curatorial, education, or public programming roles.

The pioneering 2024 cohort comprises eight exceptional New York-based professionals selected through a rigorous nomination and application process. Inaugural participants include:

  • Deja Belardo, Assistant Curator, The Shed
  • Meredith Breech, Associate Director of Exhibitions, Fotografiska
  • Carla Forbes, Curatorial Assistant, Brooklyn Museum
  • Margarita Lila Rosa, Independent Curator
  • Jenée-Daria Strand, Assistant Curator, Public Art Fund
  • Tsige Tafesse, Curatorial Fellow, The Kitchen; Program Manager, Processing Foundation
  • Gee Wesley, Curatorial Assistant, MoMA
  • Imani Williford, Curatorial Assistant, Brooklyn Museum

By 2025, the transformative initiative will expand its reach nationwide, fostering a diverse tapestry of visionaries poised to shape the program’s landscape.

Since its initial meeting in late January, the trailblazing collective has immersed itself in enriching experiences, including thought-provoking dialogues with esteemed curators, an exploratory sojourn to Los Angeles to engage with various arts organizations, studio visits with renowned artists, and intensive, immersive workshops.

As the first Arts Leadership Praxis program, funded in part by the Ford Foundation, approaches its conclusion in June 2024, participants will convene for a networking event with esteemed Studio Museum Institute alums.