Press Release

Souls Grown Deep Foundation Announces Museum Internships for Undergraduate Students of Color

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New Annual Grant Program Awards Three Students with Academic-Year Support for Internships at Museums Receiving Art from the Foundation, including New Orleans Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 

The Souls Grown Deep Foundation (SGDF) is pleased to announce a new grant program providing undergraduate students of color paid internships, allowing for the opportunity to develop professional experience in art museums while being financially supported. The program will launch in the spring 2019 semester, providing $5,000 per intern, leading to full academic-year placements beginning in fall 2019 offering $10,000 per student. Students will apply for internships in relevant curatorial, registrarial, conservation, education, and/or administrative positions at art museums that have acquired art from the Foundation. The first museums to participate in the program will be the New Orleans Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which are all working towards presentations of their respective Souls Grown Deep Foundation acquisitions.

“The Souls Grown Deep Foundation’s internship program presents a new way to support the original aspirations of our founder William S. Arnett—that the artists we advocate for must be and are being championed by others,” said Dr. Maxwell L. Anderson, president of the Foundation. “In light of recent research by the Mellon Foundation on the challenges of diversifying museum staff, we are especially proud to fill the need of supporting undergraduate students to encourage the pursuit of graduate education and/or a career in museums.”

Successful applicants will be afforded the opportunity to work alongside the curators, conservators, educators, and administrators working directly with art recently acquired from the Foundation collection and gain experience in museum work in general. Each internship includes a trip to visit the Foundation’s collection in Atlanta and the artists and communities it serves in the Southeast. Internships are open to undergraduate students of color interested in professions related to museums and visual arts. For information on applying, go to

“We are delighted to participate in this new grant program, just as we begin to plan an exhibition that will present for the first time the 24 works that we recently acquired from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation,” Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, stated. “Through this process, our intern will gain valuable experience, working closely with our curators, and participating in nearly every facet of exhibition planning, from installation design and interpretation to working with our educators on public programming and community engagement. It is essential that as we nurture the growth of the next generation of scholars we also ensure that the field itself reflects the diversity of the community we serve. We are grateful to the Souls Grown Deep Foundation for creating a much-needed program that makes this internship opportunity possible.”

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Souls Grown Deep Foundation once again. As one of the first three museums to participate in the inaugural grant program to create internships for college students of color, NOMA is grateful for the opportunity to advance scholarly research on our newly acquired works from the Foundation,” said Susan Taylor, New Orleans Museum of Art's Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “NOMA has long been committed to collecting artists from the African American South with an extensive exhibition history and strong collections. We look forward to introducing interns to this material and the exhibition possibilities it presents.”

“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is excited to participate in this new grant program that aligns perfectly with our strategic goals of diversifying our collections, audience, and staff,” says Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Director Alex Nyerges. “With this grant and internship opportunity, we are looking forward to playing a part in shaping the next generation of museum professionals.”

Founded in 2010, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation is dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting the contributions of artists from the African American South, and the cultural traditions in which they are rooted. Central to this mission has been a series of gift/purchase agreements to transfer works from the Foundation’s collection to leading art museums in the United States and providing opportunities for research, education, and scholarly initiatives around this art. To date, works have been placed in seven museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. An ever-increasing number of art historians, curators, museum directors, art critics, and journalists are studying, exhibiting, and publishing the hundreds of objects being transferred. The internship program will invite interest in this art for new generations and continue to expand the depth of knowledge about artists from the African American South. 


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© Mary Lee Bendolph / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Photo: Stephen Pitkin / Pitkin Studio

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