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Historically black school: curators master’s degree in works

January 26, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A historically black university in New Orleans has been awarded a grant to develop a new graduate degree for museum and gallery professionals.

The Helis Foundation provided the grant to develop a master’s degree in curatorial practice and exhibition management at Xavier University of Louisiana, the school said in a news release Thursday.

“People of color have been underrepresented in the field of curatorial practices and in museum fields in general,” said Jessie Schott Haynes, managing director of The Helis Foundation. “It has been demonstrated that increasing diversity among curators and preparators will generate new ideas, innovation, and engagement with art and serve audiences in a more authentic way.”

The news release says Xavier has an established collections management department and emerging gallery space.

The university’s director of African-American and diaspora studies, Dr. Sarah Clunis, and art professor Ron Bechet will lead development of the program.

Clunis said the program can also help students in areas including communications, mass communications, business, music, and art because the skills will let them manage business expos, create set designs for theaters and movies, and plan general events.

“The program will also benefit those enrolled in the humanities as students can enhance their undergraduate degrees in such fields as history, philosophy, and theology with curatorial and exhibition management skills that will qualify them for work in a variety of museum fields,” she said.

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