The Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellowship is nationally renowned as one of the oldest and most robust museum programs in the country dedicated to increasing diversity among professional staff in the museum field. This one-year full-time paid Fellowship is a critical component in preparing early career museum professionals from historically underrepresented backgrounds (particularly people of color) seeking careers in art museums and art-related fields of education, community engagement, and administration.
Fellows receive hands-on work experience in various museum functions, including curatorial, public programming, interpretive materials, registration, audience development, marketing, and development. Specific assignments are tailored to the needs of the Saint Louis Art Museum as well as the Bearden Fellow’s skills and interests. All fellows receive individualized mentoring from senior museum staff to enhance skill development that fosters confidence building critical to entry-level museum professionals.
Named to honor African American artist Romare Bearden (1911—1988), the Fellowship was established with a gift from St. Louis philanthropists Adelaide and Daniel Schlafly, and is supported in part by their endowment and with significant additional funding from the Art Museum. Founded in 1991 as an undergraduate program, the Fellowship was redefined as a graduate program in 1992. Many of the goals today are similar to those originally laid out for the program at its inception – to build a pool of outstanding and talented museum professionals. As of 2020, there were 27 Bearden Fellows, 90% of whom are still actively working in prominent positions across the arts and cultural field. Alumni of the program hold a range of leadership positions in the art world as curators, educators, and development directors at prestigious museums and universities, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the University of Texas at Austin.
Current and Past Fellows
Danielle Burns Wilson
Timothy Paul Brown
Anne Collins Smith
Kara Lyn Anderson
Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw
How to Apply
Each year the Saint Louis Art Museum invites applicants from around the world to apply for acceptance into the Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellowship program. The Museum accepts applications each year between November and January for the annual program beginning in July of the same year.
This cross-departmental position gives early-career professionals opportunities to work with various departments, including possible assignments in research, public programming, interpretive materials development, marketing, curatorial, and audience development. Specific assignments are tailored to the Museum’s needs and the Fellow’s skills and interests.
Eligible candidates must have completed at least one year of graduate school by the start of the Fellowship in Art Education, Art History, Museum Studies, or related fields such as Anthropology, African Studies, American Studies, Business, and History. Successful applicants must have good written and verbal communication skills, be able to work independently and manage multiple assignments.
The Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellow receives a competitive annual salary, a full-time benefits package, and relocation and educational travel allowances.
In the News
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Fellowship opens eyes to Black art history
The St. Louis American
Onwards and Upwards