Fellows

A Distinguished Network

Founded in 2007, CCL has organized ten classes of fellows to date, training 110 curators who serve museums across the world. Each year CCL selects ten to twelve applicants representing a wide range of geographic, institutional, and art historical backgrounds.

Fellows become a unique cohort who undergo professional and personal growth together throughout the CCL experience and beyond. Our graduates add critical value to the vision and strategy of museums worldwide and form a network that fosters growth and collaboration.

Christa Clarke - Senior Curator, Arts of Global Africa

Christa Clarke

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Class

CCL Class of 2012

Institution

Newark Museum

Title

Senior Curator, Arts of Global Africa

Institution at time of Fellowship

Newark Museum

Mentors

Vishakha Desai, Asia Society and Museum

Jock Reynolds, Yale University Art Gallery

Christa Clarke, a specialist in historic and contemporary African art, is Senior Curator, Arts of Global Africa, at the Newark Museum. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Maryland, writing her dissertation on the collecting and display of African art at the Barnes Foundation. Prior to her appointment at Newark in 2002, Clarke served as the Curator of African Art at the Neuberger Museum. She has been a fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Clark Art Institute and held teaching appointments at George Washington University, the Corcoran School of Art, Rutgers University and Purchase College. At Newark, Clarke has organized several exhibitions, including Power Dressing: Men’s Fashion and Prestige in Africa (2005), Another Modernity: Works on Paper by Uche Okeke(2006), and Embodying the Sacred in Yoruba Art (2008). Her most recent publication, Representing Africa in American Art Museums: A Century of Collecting and Display (2010; co-edited with Kathleen Berzock), examines the impact of museum practice on the formation of meaning and public perception of African art. Clarke is currently overseeing a major expansion and reinstallation of the African art galleries at Newark and an accompanying collections catalogue, a project which has received major support from the NEH and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Thomas Denenberg - Director

The Center for Curatorial Leadership not only offered me new leadership tools at the very moment that I became a museum director, but it also provided a network of mentors and peers that has proved to be both an invaluable professional resource and a personal gift.

Thomas Denenberg

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Thomas Andrew Denenberg is the director of Shelburne Museum. Prior to moving to Vermont in 2011, he served as the chief curator and deputy director of the Portland Museum of Art (Portland, Maine), curator of American art at Reynolda House (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), and curator of American Decorative Arts at the Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford, Connecticut). Tom received a B.A. in history from Bates College and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University. He has held fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution and Winterthur and taught at Boston University, Harvard, and Wake Forest. He is the author of Wallace Nutting and the Invention of Old America (Yale University Press, 2003), Winslow Homer and the Poetics of Place (Portland Museum of art, 2010), and he edited and/or contributed to Picturing Old New England: Image and Memory (Smithsonian Institution, 1999), Backstage Pass: Rock and Roll Photography (Yale University Press, 2008), Call of the Coast: Art Colonies of New England (Yale University Press, 2009), Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine (Yale University Press, 2012), Wyeth Vertigo (University Press of New England, 2013), and Painting a Nation: American Art at Shelburne Museum (University Press of New England, forthcoming 2015).

Leah Dickerman - Director of Editorial & Content Strategy

Leah Dickerman

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Leah Dickerman is the first Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art. Previously, she was Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA. Before coming to MoMA in 2008, Dickerman was a curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2001-2007). Over her career, Dickerman has organized or co-organized a series of prizewinning multi-media exhibitions that offer new perspectives on the modern, including Inventing Abstraction, 1912-1925 (2012-2013), Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art (2011-2012), Bauhaus: Workshops for Modernity (2009-2010), Dada(2005-2006), and Aleksandr Rodchenko (1998). She is currently preparing an exhibition on Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series, scheduled for 2015, and a retrospective of the work of Robert Rauschenberg, scheduled for 2016. She has been on the editorial board of the journal October since 2001. Dickerman is the Director of The Museum Research Consortium, a new partnership between MoMA and graduate art history programs at Princeton, Yale, Columbia, The Institute of Fine Arts and The Graduate Center at The City University of New York.

Elizabeth Finch - Lunder Curator of American Art

Every facet of my work has benefited from participating in a program that exemplifies the transformational effects of innovative leadership. I am grateful and proud to be part of CCL's network of colleagues committed to cultivating the great potential of the...

Elizabeth Finch

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Elizabeth Finch is the Lunder Curator of American Art at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine. She holds degrees in art history from the University of California at Berkeley (B.A.) and the Graduate Center, City University of New York (PhD), and is an alumna of the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program. Joining the Colby Museum in 2008, she co-curated Art at Colby, a museum-wide installation of the collection to mark the museum’s fiftieth anniversary. She was also part of the curatorial team in charge of the inaugural installation of Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion, a major expansion completed in 2013. In addition to her ongoing work with the Colby Museum’s collection, she has organized numerous exhibitions, including Sharon Lockhart: Lunch Break, Will Barnet: New York Drawings & Prints, Face of the Poet: Alex Katz’s Poetry Collaborations, 1969–1978, and Andy Warhol: Screen Tests & Photographs. Her current projects include the forthcoming exhibitions Terry Winters Prints: 1999–2014 and Marsden Hartley’s Maine. Prior to the Colby Museum, she worked in the curatorial department at the Whitney Museum and as assistant curator and then as curator of The Drawing Center, where she co-curated the contemporary Selections exhibitions and provided managerial oversight of exhibitions, publications, and public programs.

John Ravenal - Executive Director

I valued the intense learning experience with my curatorial colleagues and the knowledge gained from meetings with Columbia professors, museum directors, and cultural leaders.

John Ravenal

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John B. Ravenal is Executive Director of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. He was previously the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, a position he has held since 1998. Before that, he was the Associate Curator of 20th-Century Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Recent exhibitions include Ryan McGinness: Studio Visit (2014); Xu Bing: Tobacco Project(2011), and Sally Mann: The Flesh and The Spirit (2010). He is currently organizing Jasper Johns/Edvard Munch(2016; produced in partnership with the Munch Museum, Oslo), the first exhibition to explore the connection between these two artists. Ravenal earned his BA in art history from Wesleyan University and his MA and MPhil in art history from Columbia University. He served as the fourth president of the Association of Art Museum Curators (2009-11).

Elizabeth Smith - Executive Director

Elizabeth Smith

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Elizabeth Smith was named the first Executive Director of the New York-based Helen Frankenthaler Foundation in 2013. Previously she was Executive Director, Curatorial Affairs at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto; Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Smith has curated major monographic exhibitions of artists including Jenny Holzer, Lee Bontecou, Kerry James Marshall, and Cindy Sherman as well as exhibitions on architecture such as Blueprints for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses, The Architecture of R.M. Schindler. She authored Techno Architecture(2000) and Case Study Houses (2002/2006) and has contributed essays to numerous additional publications including, most recently, Do Ho Suh Drawings and Helen Frankenthaler: Composing with Color, 1962-1963 (both 2014). Smith is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC).

Martha Tedeschi - Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director

Being part of the 2012 CCL cohort was a game-changing experience for me. I gained invaluable perspective and came away with new commitment to making a difference in our field.

Martha Tedeschi

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Class

CCL Class of 2012

Institution

Harvard Art Museums

Title

Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director

Institution at time of Fellowship

Art Institute of Chicago

Mentors

John Leighton, The National Galleries of Scotland

Tom Lentz, Harvard Art Museums

Martha Tedeschi was appointed Deputy Director for Art and Research at the Art Institute of Chicago in August 2012. In this capacity, she oversees matters related to research, collections, and curatorial practice, including the Institute’s Libraries and Archives, the Conservation, Conservation Science, and Publishing programs, as well the day-to-day activities of eleven curatorial departments. She also serves as the Art Institute’s liaison to local universities and to foundations. Prior to her current appointment, she held the Prince Trust Curatorship in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute.

Tedeschi received her B.A. with honors from Brown University, an M.A. from the University of Michigan, and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University (1994). She is the general editor and co-author of The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler (1998 and the organizing curator of the exhibition Watercolors by Winslow Homer: The Color of Light (2008), as well as for its sequel, John Marin’s Watercolors: A Medium for Modernism (201). Her most recent exhibition was Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy (2013). Tedeschi is the recent past president of the Print Council of America (2009-2013).

Stanton Thomas - Curator of European Paintings and Decorative Arts

Stanton Thomas

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Class

CCL Class of 2012

Institution

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Title

Curator of European Paintings and Decorative Arts

Institution at time of Fellowship

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Mentors

Brian Kennedy, Toledo Museum of Art

Eric Lee, Kimbell Art Museum

Stanton Thomas received his Ph. D. in the subject of Flemish Art from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Oho. As part of his program of study, he spent two years in Leuven, Belgium under the auspices of the Vlaamse Gemeenschap and the Belgian American Education Foundation. He also holds an M.A. from the University of Missouri, Columbia and a B.S. from Truman University. In addition, Dr. Thomas completed the Attingham Summer School Program in 2007.

After his graduation in 1998, Dr. Thomas was a visiting professor at Case Western for two years. He then held the post of Assistant Curator of Paintings at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Currently Dr. Thomas is the Curator of European Paintings and Decorative Arts at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee.

Dr. Thomas resides in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife Geneviève Hill-Thomas. His spouse is a Ph.D. candidate at Indiana University, Bloomington in West African Art History.

Michelle Joan Wilkinson - Museum Curator

Michelle Joan Wilkinson

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Michelle Joan Wilkinson, Ph.D. is a curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), where she works on projects related to contemporary black life. She is the co-curator of two inaugural exhibitions at the NMAAHC: A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond and A Century in the Making: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Wilkinson is also developing the museum’s collections in architecture and design.

Prior to NMAAHC, spent six years as Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. In that capacity, she curated over twenty exhibitions, including the critically-acclaimed A People’s Geography: The Spaces of African American Life, and two award-winning shows: For Whom It Stands: The Flag and the American People and Material Girls: Contemporary Black Women Artists.


Wilkinson holds a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. from Emory University. From 1999-2002, she was an assistant professor of African American, Puerto Rican, and Caribbean literature at Bard College in New York. In 2002, Wilkinson entered the museum field seeking to fulfill her passion for the arts, writing, scholarly research, and public engagement. Since then, she has worked on exhibitions, publications, and public programs for the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and at the Studio Museum in Harlem, where she held the position of Editor and Library Coordinator.

Wilkinson’s research interests range from African American and African Diaspora cultural studies to global architecture and design. Wilkinson was a 2012 fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership in New York City, and completed a short-term residency at the Design Museum in London as part of her fellowship. Her honors and awards include fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London. Her interdisciplinary research project, “V is for Veranda,” about architectural heritage in the Anglophone Caribbean, has been presented to international audiences in Suriname, England, India, and the United States.

Wilkinson is active on several boards and committees in the museum field. She is the editor of For Whom It Stands: The Flag and the American People and she has published critical essays in New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement and Potentially Harmful: The Art of American Censorship. Her writing also has appeared in the International Review of African American Art, ARC Magazine: Contemporary Caribbean Visual Art and Culture, Studio: The Studio Museum in Harlem Magazine, Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Black Issues Book Review, and Revue Noire: Art Contemporain Africain, among others.

Stephanie D'Alessandro - Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Modern Art and Curator in Charge of the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art

Stephanie D'Alessandro

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Class

CCL Class of 2011

Institution

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Title

Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Modern Art and Curator in Charge of the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art

Institution at time of Fellowship

Art Institute of Chicago

Mentors

Emily Rafferty, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Nicholas Serota, Tate Britain

Stephanie D’Alessandro is the Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator of Modern Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Chicago, specializing in art of the Weimar Republik. She began her career at the Art Institute in 1998 as an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow and has also organized several exhibitions for Chicago, including Poetics of Scale (2003). Most recently, she oversaw the installation of the collection in the Art Institute’s Modern Wing (2009 and 2014) and curated the major exhibitions, Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-17 (2010); Picasso and Chicago (2013); and Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 (2014). Prior to joining the Art Institute, D’Alessandro was Associate Curator at the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago.

Among other projects, D’Alessandro is at work on a comprehensive scholarly catalogue of the museum’s works by Henri Matisse (2016).

Andria Derstine - John G. W. Cowles Director

The CCL program was a formative experience that helped me take on new responsibilities within the curatorial, and later directorial, arenas. Among the greatest sources of learning were my fellow participants, along with the many inspiring leaders with whom we engaged.

Andria Derstine

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Andria Derstine was named John G. W. Cowles Director of the Allen Memorial Art Museum (AMAM) at Oberlin College in 2012; she previously held curatorial positions there and at the Detroit Institute of Arts. She has curated numerous exhibitions of Renaissance through contemporary art, several in conjunction with such institutions as the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Phillips Collection, and the Yale University Art Gallery. Her scholarly expertise is in 17th-18th century French and Italian art; her dissertation, from NYU, was on the French Academy in Rome and the Accademia di San Luca during the period 1660-1740. Among her numerous publications are the catalogues Allen Memorial Art Museum: Highlights from the Collection (2011) and Masters of Italian Baroque Painting: The Detroit Institute of Arts (2005), as well as essays and articles on Venetian 18th-century art, Nattier, and Monet.

Dan Finamore - Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History

Dan Finamore

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Class

CCL Class of 2011

Institution

Peabody Essex Museum

Title

Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History

Institution at time of Fellowship

Peabody Essex Museum

Mentors

Tom Lentz, Harvard Art Museums

Michael Shapiro, High Museum of Art

Daniel Finamore is the Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History at the Peabody Essex Museum where he has organized over fifteen exhibitions. A graduate of Vassar and Boston University, he received the Dissertation Award from the Society for American Archaeology for his outstanding PhD research. He has conducted archaeological field research from Sable Island to Belize, some of which contributed toward the groundbreaking exhibition and book Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea. He has served on the executive council of the International Congress of Maritime Museums, as a director of the Council of American Maritime Museums, on the U.S. National Committee of the Census of Marine Life, and as a director of the Institute for Global Maritime Studies. He has written over 40 articles and chapters for academic and popular publications, and is the author and/or editor of five books. He is currently at work on a project, co-organized with the V&A, on ocean liner design.