Three institutions in southern California have created internships, endowments, and programmes to better support Black and underrepresented faculty and students. We’re taking a look:
The Getty has announced the inaugural class of interns in their post-grad internship programme aimed at addressing the lack of diversity in the field of art conservation. Acquiring the necessary credentials for art conservation is a rigorous and lengthy process that requires advanced degrees, a number of specialised courses, and hundreds of hours as an intern, which is often an unpaid gig. The process makes the field difficult to enter and has led it to being quite homogenous and inequitable, according to the Getty. The Getty’s point is backed by the 2015 and 2018 Art Museum Staff Demographic Surveys released by the Mellon Foundation that found art conservation to be among the least diverse aspects of the museum field. The Getty hopes to facilitate diversity and those underrepresented within in the highly specialised field through a new internship. The internship will provide participants with a 12-month individual grand of $30,000 and offer a series of experiences in partnership with a number of institutions, including the LACMA and the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Cheyenne Caraway of Fort Lewis College, Kiera Hammond of Howard University, and Michelle Tenggara of the University of California are the first to receive the new internship. Due to COVID-19, the Getty remains shuttered, but the cohort have begun their residencies remotely.
Otis College of Art and Design
In June Otis College’s incoming president Charles Hirschhorn and Chair of the Board of Trustees Mei-Lee Ney announced a series of initiatives to support Black students at the southern California institute. In support of these initiatives and to catalyse a number of efforts to diversify Otis, Ney has gifted the college $1 million. “I made my donation because racial injustice is something I feel strongly about,” said Ney in a statement. “Systemic racism within our educational, financial, and societal institutions disproportionately affects Black communities and can create additional obstacles for students, faculty, and staff.” Amongst Otis’ steps to better support Black students is the launch of the Black Creatives Institute (BCI). BCI seeks to increase community, student engagement, student retention, and degree completion through a series of seminars and workshops. Although BCI has been in the works since last year, its launch is timely and couples with the new set of initiatives set forth by Otis in light of recent events.
California Institute of the Arts
At the end of August, California Institutes of the Arts (CalArts) announced a $5 million donation from philanthropist and co-founder of Art + Practice Eileen Harris Norton. The gift has gone towards launching the Charles Gaines Faculty Chair which intends to support Black and underrepresented CalArts faculty. The inaugural endowment has been given to the namesake of the position, Charles Gaines, who has worked at CalArts for three decades, mentoring various artists, including Mark Bradford, Rodney McMillan, Lauren Halsey, Edgar Arceneaux, and Henry Taylor. In the years following Gaines’ appointment, the endowment will be awarded to faculty who are from underrepresented bodies and those who self-identify as Black. “Both institutions of higher education and of the arts are regularly costumed as bastions of progressive thought and spaces of equity and inclusion,” president of CalArts, Ravi Rajan, said in a statement. “Actual practices indicate otherwise. Eileen Harris Norton knows this and her gift helps CalArts create structures that counter this behavior.