CCL Fellowship

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CCL Class of 2021 (from left): Anne Collins Smith, Kathryn Gunsch, Adrienne Edwards, Humberto Moro, Maggie Adler, Shawnya Harris, Catherine Taft, Veronica Roberts, Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Tahnee Ahtoneharjo-Growingthunder, Jamaal Sheats, and Lanka Tattersall 

CCL2020 group photo

CCL Class of 2020 (from left): Anne Ellegood, Esther Bell, Connie Butler, Turry M. Flucker, Kristen Collins, Asma Naeem, Ian Alteveer, Silvia Forni, Aimée Froom, Madhuvanti Ghose, Anna Marley, Maurita N. Poole

Photo by Hollis Johnson

CCL Fellows 2019

CCL Class of 2019 Fellows (from left): Susanne Ebbinghaus, Susan Cross, Sarah Kelly Oehler, Ryan N. Dennis, Sara Krajewski, Endia Beal, David Breslin, Dennis Carr, Johanna Burton, Courtney Martin, Tuliza Fleming, René Morales. Photo by Hollis Johnson

Photo by Hollis Johnson

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CCL Class of 2018 Fellows (from left to right): Soyoung Lee, Ethan W. Lasser, Lauren Haynes, Alison Ferris, Mia Locks, Victoria Sancho Lobis, Nora Burnett Abrams, Jose Carlos Diaz, Jodi Hauptman, Rita Gonzalez, Elizabeth Siegel, and Kelly Baum. Artwork: Constantin Brancusi, The Miracle (Seal [I]), ca. 1930–32. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. © Succession Brancusi - All rights reserved (ARS) 2018. Photo by L.A. Nolan.

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CCL Class of 2017 Fellows (from top, left to right): Naomi Beckwith, Emily G. Hanna, William Keyse Rudolph, Pierre Terjanian, Sarah Meister, Sophie Hackett, Elyse A. Gonzales, Christina Nielsen, Thomas J. Lax, Alison Gass, Jen Mergel, Amy S. Landau. Artwork: Glenn Ligon, Give Us a Poem, 2017. Gift of the artist, The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Photo by Isaac James

CCL 2016 Teams group exercise 1

CCL 2016 Fellows collaborate on a group project during a session on teamwork, taught by Columbia University professor Valerie Purdie-Vaughns.

Photo by Isaac James

CCL 2014 - Michael Govan

LACMA director and CEO Michael Govan meets with the 2014 fellows to discuss his leadership experiences.

Photo by Zach Lipp

Katherine Phillips teaching "Leading Teams"

Columbia Business School professor Katherine Phillips teaches "Leading High-Impact Teams" to CCL fellows.

Photo by Amy Elliott

About the Fellowship

CCL offers leadership training for art museum curators from all art historical specialties. Established in 2007, CCL’s core Fellowship program provides experienced curators with instruction from Columbia Business School faculty and exposure to real- world challenges faced by cultural institutions today.

Mentoring is a key element of the program and extends the learning outside of the classroom. Every year, directors and trustees from major museums across the world host Fellows for a weeklong residency (Click here for a complete list of placements). In addition to providing Fellows with mentors of their own, CCL charges its Fellows to mentor young people from communities that are underrepresented within the current ranks of the curatorial profession. Click here for more information on the Diversity Mentoring Initiative.


CCL accepts applications from full-time curators working in art museums in North America and abroad; ten to twelve applicants are accepted each year. CCL looks for inspired individuals with an established record of:

Curatorial achievement: Successful candidates are distinguished within their fields of expertise but are interested in developing new skills that would enable them to become valuable partners in institutional decision making.

Advancing Equity: CCL believes that diversity, representation, and inclusion are synonymous with excellence. Successful candidates have demonstrated commitment to fostering these values both within their institutions and in the field at large.

Leadership experience: CCL is interested in applicants who look beyond their curatorial responsibilities. Many candidates have managed teams, mentored emerging professionals, and partnered with colleagues both within their museums and across the profession. Successful candidates seek to contribute to the larger goals of their organizations and engage in questions facing the field at large.

Creative and entrepreneurial thinking: CCL curators are innovative problem solvers and forward-looking agents of change. In the program, they learn not only subject-specific skills like managerial accounting, but also habits of strategic thinking that will help them solve problems, foster institutional change and build relationships throughout the museum and beyond.

Program Components and Dates

The program extends from January to May or June and includes the following segments:

  • A two-week intensive program in New York City in January that includes teaching from faculty members at Columbia Business School and practical exposure and assignments provided by museums, cultural institutions, foundations, and other civic organizations across the city.
  • A five-day individual residency in March or April with a museum director from an institution other than the Fellow’s home institution.
  • A diversity mentoring project, designed, planned and implemented by the Fellow, assigned in January and covering the span of the Fellowship, intended to introduce young people from communities that are underrepresented within the current ranks of the curatorial profession to museum careers.
  • A concluding week in May or June, crafted to the particular needs and experiences of the class. It includes instruction, coaching, and the presentation of a team assignment.

CCL 2021 Dates:

  • The January program will begin on Sunday, January 2, 2022 and run through Friday, January 14, 2022.
  • The dates of each residency are selected by the Fellow and the residency host based on the activities in the host museum.
  • The concluding week of instruction will be determined following the selection of the 2022 class.


CCL carefully crafts a program that integrates theoretical presentations with practical application. In January, professors from Columbia Business School teach concentrated courses in nonprofit management, finance, negotiation, and long- range and short-term strategic initiatives. Engagements with museum directors, administrators, trustees, civic officials, and other cultural leaders provide insight into different models of leadership and the issues facing today’s institutions. 

The following areas are important topics addressed by the program:

  • Change management
  • Decision making
  • Managing up
  • Financial management
  • Strategy
  • Negotiation
  • Organizational alignment
  • Leading teams
  • Governance
  • Leadership and Personality 

In addition to this instruction, CCL Fellows engage with influential museum directors, administrators, trustees, civic officials, and other cultural leaders. These sessions provide CCL Fellows with unparalleled opportunities to not only discuss the current state of museums and cultural leadership but also receive hands-on instruction regarding strategy, fundraising, and board development.

Time Commitment 

Fellows must commit to full participation in all aspects of the CCL program, ensuring complete availability for all sessions and a wholly immersive Fellowship experience.  There will be four weeks of intensive in-person sessions that will not allow for concurrent obligations, during these times fellows are required to prioritize CCL as their primary commitment. In addition, Fellows are also expected to engage in ongoing projects that will demand their time and attention throughout the full five-month program.


In recognition of the profound economic impact of COVID-19 on museums’ budgets, Agnes Gund has generously pledged to sponsor all 2o22 CCL tuition costs. With her support, participation in the 2022 CCL Fellowship will be free for all selected Fellows and their museums.

CCL covers the majority of travel, hotel, and food costs related to the program. For the two weeks in January in New York City and the final week of the program, the majority of meals and transportation from Monday through Friday will be organized by CCL; Fellows will be responsible for covering a small number of taxis and other incidentals. For the five-day residency, CCL will arrange the booking and payment of hotel and travel reservations and Fellows will receive a daily stipend to cover meals and incidentals.