Program Overview

The Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program and Summer Academy aim to provide specialized training in the curatorial field for students across the United States from diverse backgrounds.

The program takes place at five partnering institutions, each with a world-class, encyclopedic collection that represents the artistic production of human culture. The partnering museums include the Art Institute of Chicago; the High Museum of Art in Atlanta; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.

Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellows at the MFAH

Mellon Curatorial Fellows participate in a two-year program that provides hands-on experience inside a museum setting, such as working with curatorial mentors and staff on exhibitions, collections, and programs. Mentors work with students to enrich the academic experience and to increase exposure to the museum environment while broadening the students’ understanding of art and art history. Designed as a series of ongoing summer internships at the museum, followed by continued engagement during the academic school year, the program provides curatorial mentors and a stipend to the fellows.

Emilia Duno   Emilia Duno attends Rice University and is majoring in art history, philosophy, and Latin American studies. Emilia had her first introduction to curatorial work as a high school intern in the film department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston under the supervision of Marian Luntz, curator of film and video. Following the 2014 Mellon Summer Academy, Emilia served as a research assistant at Sicardi Gallery and was awarded the John & Dominique de Menil Fellowship (2015–2016), which has provided her the opportunity to work in the Menil Collection under the guidance of the museum’s curatorial department. At Rice University, Emilia serves as the vice president for the Art History Club and as an internal vice chair of the Academic Honor Council (2013–present). Emilia’s interests in art history focus on Latin American art; she is particularly excited about the opportunity to work with the renowned MFAH collection of Latin American art as a Mellon Fellow under the guidance of her curatorial mentor, Mari Carmen Ramírez, The Wortham Curator of Latin American Art.
Amarie Gipson    Amarie Gipson attends St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas and is majoring in Liberal Studies with a concentration in art, art history, and philosophy. She is an independent curator and interns at Pump Project Art Complex, a nonprofit art space in East Austin that provides studios and gallery facilities to emerging and established artists. There, she recently curated Femme National(e), a multimedia group exhibition of contemporary women artists. She served as a research assistant for Dr. Amy Nathan Wright’s American Dilemma’s course, investigating issues such as race, gender, and class. As a Mellon Fellow, Amarie seeks to continue pursuing her passion for African American contemporary art while further developing her practice as a curator and scholar. Amarie’s curatorial mentor is Dena Woodall, associate curator of prints and drawings.
  Mai Kolkailah attends the University of Houston, where she is majoring in art history with a minor in studio art. She moved to Houston after graduating high school from the B.B.C. International School in Cairo, Egypt. Her decision to study art history and studio art was cultivated by visiting artists’ studios and learning about diverse artistic techniques and styles. During her studies in Egypt, she visited artists who practiced traditional techniques for making papyrus paper and carving stones. Based on these experiences, Mai has a passion for sharing Egyptian history and culture through art, and volunteers to teach students about Egyptian art, history, and the Arabic alphabet at Black Elementary School in Aldine, Texas. Mai’s curatorial mentor is Aimée Froom, curator of the art of the Islamic worlds.
  Adeleye Omotosho is majoring in art history at the University of Texas at Austin. As a first generation Nigerian-American of Yoruba heritage, he is dedicated to creating platforms for artists of color. At the University of Texas at Austin, he is an active member of Association of Black Fine Arts Students (ABFAS), and he has worked as a student research coordinator at the Center for the Art of Africa and its Diasporas (CAAD). He has community experience assisting with museum programs at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center in Austin, and he worked on an art exhibition organized by the La Tinaia Art Therapy Center in Florence, Italy. Malcolm Daniel, curator in charge, department of photography, is his curatorial mentor.
Celia Shaheen   Celia Shaheen attends the Unviersity of Texas at Austin and is double majoring in art history and studio art with an interdisciplinary concentration in museum studies. As a fellow, Celia is excited to continue pursuing her interests in museum collections, archives, and curatorial practice, with emphasis on exhibiting the work of a more diversified body of artists in museums. Celia has contributed to the work and mission of collections and art galleries on campus at the University of Texas  at Austin: she served as a junior curatorial officer for the Center Space Project, a student run organization at the Visual Art Center; she was a preservation guild intern for the Landmarks’ public art program on campus; and she is a senior student assistant at the Harry Ransom Center for the Gabriel García Márquez online archive. Celia’s practice as a studio art student focuses on photography and printmaking, and she is interested in bridging her studio practice and curatorial research as a fellow at the MFAH. Celia’s curatorial mentor is Malcolm Daniel, Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator, Department of Photography.