Smithsonian American Art Museum To Establish New Curatorial Training Fellowships With a Major Grant From the Henry Luce Foundation

May 22, 2019
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Luce Fellows

The Smithsonian American Art Museum received $590,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation to establish a new program of curatorial training fellowships. The grant will fund two multiyear Luce Curatorial Fellowships at the museum for the next five years. The program will create a professional development bridge connecting academic pursuits and a curatorial career for a scholar with in-depth subject expertise in American art and provide training in four areas of curatorial work: research, exhibition development, collections planning and public outreach.

“The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s fellowship program for nearly 50 years has been the catalyst for new scholarship and innovative thinking in the field of American art,” said Stephanie Stebich, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “I am grateful that the Henry Luce Foundation shares our vision for creating curatorial fellowships, designed to encourage the development of new narratives about American art and the American experience, and has contributed significant support for this new program.”

The Luce Curatorial Fellows will apprentice with one of the museum’s 14 curators on a project focused on a particular subject, including sculpture, 19th-century art, postwar art, African American art and folk and self-taught art. Fellows also will engage in the intellectual life of the museum’s Research and Scholars Center—home of its renowned fellowship program and peer-reviewed journal for new scholarship American Art—lead gallery talks, present lectures and pursue scholarly publication opportunities. The initial fellowship will begin in fall 2019, with a second overlapping appointment starting in fall 2021.

The Luce Foundation grant is the latest contribution to the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s campaign to secure the future of its academic programs. The campaign is now halfway to its $10 million goal. The museum’s fellowship program, which has had unprecedented influence and a global impact on the field of American art, celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020.

Since 1970, the museum has provided more than 680 scholars with financial aid and unparalleled research resources, as well as a world-class network of colleagues. Former fellows now occupy positions in prominent academic and cultural institutions across the United States, Australia, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and South America. In addition to hosting fellows through the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program, the museum offers the Joe and Wanda Corn Fellowship for scholarship that spans American art and American history, the Douglass Foundation Fellowship, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Fellowship, the George Gurney Fellowship for the study of American sculpture, the SAAM Fellowship in Latinx Art, the Joshua C. Taylor Fellowship, the Terra Foundation for American Art Fellowships for the cross-cultural study of art of the United States up to 1980; the William H. Truettner Fellowship and the Wyeth Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. For information about how to apply, visit, call (202) 633-8353 or email

About the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The museum’s main building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Museum hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Its Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft and decorative arts, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. The Renwick is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. Follow the museum on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Website:

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Laura Baptiste


Ashley Reese
(202) 633-8496