Courtney M. Baxter has joined the Saint Louis Art Museum as the 2015-16 Romare Bearden Graduate Minority Fellow. The fellowship aims to build a pool of talented young minority professionals to work in art-related fields in museums, galleries, non-profit organizations, and universities.
Baxter joins the Art Museum from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, where she served as a facilitator delivering interactive educational content and tours. She previously interned in the education departments of the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois; and she served as an ethnographic research intern at Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Baxter completed her master’s degree in public history at Loyola University Chicago in 2014 and holds a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in sociology from the University of Illinois-Springfield.
“I am confident that Courtney Baxter will continue in the long tradition of past Romare Bearden Fellows, who have helped us present great art and educational opportunities to the people of St. Louis and the world,” said Brent R. Benjamin, director of the Saint Louis Art Museum. “And like her predecessors, I know the Art Museum’s 22nd Romare Bearden Fellow has a great future in the arts ahead of her.”
Named for African-American artist Romare Bearden, the one-year paid fellowship is designed to prepare minority graduate students seeking careers as art historians and museum professionals. Fellows gain valuable hands-on experience working throughout the Art Museum on specific assignments tailored to their background and interests. Since the program’s inception in 1992, Bearden Fellows have spent their year teaching, researching works in the collection, developing programming, writing gallery materials, and assisting curators with the development of exhibitions.
“Through this important program, the Saint Louis Art Museum continues to demonstrate its leadership commitment to diversifying the field of museum professionals in America,” said Adrienne Davis, president of the Museum’s board of trustees. “We are pleased to welcome Courtney in joining past Bearden fellows in continuing this tradition.”
The fellowship is a critical component in the Art Museum’s long-established campaign to increase diversity among its professional staff, an effort that recently was praised in The Economist. Past fellows have gone on to hold key positions at the Saint Louis Art Museum, as well as at other noteworthy museums and universities, including the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Texas at Austin.