Press release: Saint Louis Art Museum announces 25th Romare Bearden Fellow

By | August 28, 2018

Alexis Assam

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 28, 2018—Alexis Assam has joined the Saint Louis Art Museum as the 2018-2019 Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellow. The fellowship aims to expand the number of under-represented professionals working in art-related fields in museums, galleries, non-profit organizations and universities.

Assam is a Florida native with graduate and undergraduate degrees in art history from Florida State University. She studied the art of the African diaspora, and her research interests include the behavior known as “the tourist gaze,” postcolonial discourses within the art of Anglophone Caribbean and artistic interconnectivity and exchange across the Atlantic.

Before her fellowship at the museum, Assam worked as a museum assistant at the Gadsden Arts Center and Museum in Quincy, Fla.

“The Saint Louis Art Museum is committed to fostering diversity in the museum field. Our Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellowship has been recognized as a national model for providing professional-development opportunities,” said Brent R. Benjamin, the Barbara B. Taylor Director of the Saint Louis Art Museum. “We are looking forward to working with Alexis over the coming year as she pursues her career in the arts.”

Named for African-American artist Romare Bearden, the one-year paid fellowship is designed to prepare graduate students of color 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.

The Romare Bearden Minority Museum Fellowship is a critical component in the Art Museum’s long-established campaign to increase diversity among its professional staff, an effort that in 2015 was praised in The Economist. Last year, the Walton Family Foundation and Ford Foundation announced they would fund efforts to sustain, evaluate and disseminate lessons from the program.

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 Art Institute of Chicago, Taft Museum of Art, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Institute of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas at Austin.