Program Highlights | The Tenth Annual CCL Fellowship Concludes in NYC

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The 2017 Fellows and select CCL trustees discuss the fellowship experience over cocktails. Photo by Hollis Johnson

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Naomi Beckwith (right), Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, poses a question during a financial management course. Photo by Hollis Johnson

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Catherine Dunn, Deputy Director, Advancement at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, speak with the 2017 Fellows. Photo by Hollis Johnson

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Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Associate Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Mia Locks, independent curator, introduce the 2017 Whitney Biennial. Photo by Hollis Johnson

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CCL Class of 2017 Fellows (from left to right): Elyse A. Gonzales, Amy S. Landau, Thomas J. Lax, Emily G. Hanna, Naomi Beckwith, Jen Mergel, William Keyse Rudolph, Christina Nielsen, Sophie Hackett, Pierre Terjanian, Sarah Meister, and Alison Gass. Photo by Hollis Johnson

Highlights from the concluding weeklong intensive of the Center for Curatorial Leadership

The Center for Curatorial Leadership’s (CCL) 2017 Fellows convened this May for a one-week intensive in New York City. As a culmination of their five months in the fellowship, these twelve inspired curators participated in a targeted selection of instruction, meetings, and reflection on their Diversity Mentoring Initiatives and residencies with museum directors. The clear personal and collective growth that has developed since January manifested in a week of impassioned and productive dialogue, surfacing the curators’ heightened levels of engagement with issues of leadership both in theory and practice.

Highlights from the May program include:


A signature module of the May program is a team-based practicum exercise considering the situation of a specific organization. This year, the Fellows looked inwards toward CCL itself through the lens of its Diversity Mentoring Initiative—a component of the fellowship program first introduced in 2012. The practicum tasked the group to examine the existing structure and potential impact of the Initiative and track its growth and impact through the projects developed by nearly 80 Fellows to date.

Through conversations with stakeholders and thought leaders in the field of mentorship, analysis of past project descriptions and outcomes, and surveying colleagues and peers, the curators examined how the Initiative fits into the organizational structure of CCL. The practicum concluded with a presentation of recommendations for the ongoing evolution of the Initiative and, as a direct result, we look forward to sharing updates on the next stages of CCL’s commitment to a more diverse curatorial and museum field.


Throughout the week, the group met with an array of visionary leaders in the museum sector for sustained conversations on the issues facing today’s cultural institutions. Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and Catherine Dunn, the museum’s Deputy Director, Advancement, spoke to the importance of cultivating and stewarding donors and aligning fundraising efforts with institutional vision. Complementary courses on financial management and public speaking as well as conversations and exhibition tours at local institutions rounded out a wealth of insight into effective museum leadership.


In this final week reuniting the cohort, the curators’ close rapport and continued openness resulted in salient discussions on both the state of museums and the Fellows’ roles in steering their success. Sharing anecdotes from their residencies with current museum directors across North America and Europe allowed the Fellows to create a more vivid picture of leadership in action. Active dialogue around the desired impact of their own Diversity Mentoring Initiatives gave rise to new ideas for collaboration and implementation. 


As the tenth class of CCL Fellows, the participating curators truly embraced the values of the program in meaningful and lasting ways. We’re incredibly proud of the class of 2017 and see such tremendous opportunities in their future. Congratulations to our 2017 Fellows!


CCL May 2017 PR (download)