SJU Art Major Awarded Mellon Foundation Summer Curatorial Fellowship

Thursday, April 19, 2018

by Rebecca Hartman '18

Saint Joseph’s University art major Anissa Wilson ’20 has been accepted into the Undergraduate Summer Curatorial Fellowship Program, sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This summer, she will expand her knowledge and fine-tune her talents at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of the program’s six partner institutions.

Wilson, a Philadelphia native, focuses on drawing with charcoal, pencil/graphite and Copic markers, which are alcohol-based, high-quality drawing tools that were originally developed for the Japanese comic industry, also known as manga.

“This fellowship is a great opportunity to connect with all kinds of people within the art community, and to, of course, gain insight on museum curating,” says Wilson.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation based in New York and founded by Ailsa Mellon Bruce and Paul Mellon in 1969. Those interested in the Curatorial Fellowship Program must first complete a Summer Academy program. Mark Reynolds, Ph.D., director of the Office of Fellowships, recommended that Wilson apply for the fellowship.

"Annisa is a hard-working and talented student who will excel in the Mellon program this summer," says Reynolds, who worked with Wilson on her application. "The collaborative environment at SJU helped make this award possible."

“This is a very competitive program, with only 15 students chosen from a large pool of applicants,” says Bruce Wells, Ph.D., chair of the art department at SJU.

Wilson will be exposed to career options in the art and art history fields during the one-week experience, participating in workshops, tours, field trips and various networking events. After completing the summer program, she will be eligible for and encouraged to apply to the Fellowship Program, which takes place part-time during the academic year.

Applicants admitted to the Mellon Fellowship are undergraduate students with impressive academic records looking to attend graduate programs. The fellowship lasts two years and provides students with opportunities to work with curators and staff on various projects. Fellows will also be matched with a museum mentor and receive a yearly stipend of $10,000.

“Having a student participate in this competitive program strengthens Saint Joseph’s University’s ties to the art community in Philadelphia,” says Emily Hage, Ph.D., associate professor of art history. “It will be an extraordinary opportunity for Anissa to gain exposure to the many ways she can contribute at museums in the future.”

Wilson with her mural at Admitted Students Day

During her time in the program, Wilson hopes to embody its mission by expanding “the diversity of American art museums’ curatorial staff and develop gifted curators,” she says. Wilson hopes to meet people who inspire her, and encourages others to apply to academic opportunities like the fellowship program.

“Don’t let anything discourage you,” says Wilson. “Take the opportunity and apply because you can always learn what you don’t know.”

Wilson also showcased her skills for the SJU community during Admitted Students Day (April 7-8), where she designed and drew hawk wings as a photo opportunity for prospective students, families and alumni.

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