Rising junior selected into Mellon Summer Academy for Museum Studies

Lauren Aleece Bustamante ’21 is the latest Oglethorpe student to be accepted into the prestigious Mellon Summer Academy at the High Museum of Art.

Aleece Bustamante

During the week-long immersive experience, Bustamante, one of only 15 undergraduate students chosen, will learn about curatorial practices from Atlanta-area curators, participate in team exhibition workshops, research and present on a favorite collection object, study art museum audiences, and visit local art museums, artists’ studios, private collections, and galleries. The academy allows undergraduates to get in-depth, personal experience in a position usually reserved for graduate students.

“The mission of the Mellon Summer Academy and Curatorial Fellowship is to increase diversity in the curatorial field,” said Bustamante. “The Summer Academy is fantastic in that it gives participants an opportunity to learn about the business side of things, providing practical knowledge on the work of a curator.”

Bustamante, an Art History major from Warner Robins, GA, is a member of Oglethorpe’s newly formed student-led Art Club. (Her work has been printed in The Tower, Oglethorpe’s literary magazine, and displayed at Art Club exhibitions.)

Students accepted into the Mellon Summer Academy are eligible for consideration for the Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship, a highly selective two-year paid program that offers hands-on experience, specialized training, and mentoring in the curatorial profession for students from communities that are historically underrepresented in the museum field.

“As a woman aspiring to work in the world of art,” said Bustamante, “I often feel drowned by the ‘white male perspective’. To see a program that actively seeks different voices was exciting.”

Bustamante credited classmate and 2018 Mellon Undergraduate Fellow Taylor Roberts ’21 for helping with her application, as well as Professor of Art Alan Loehle and Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies Jeffrey Collins for their valuable guidance and encouragement.

“I have high hopes for the Mellon Summer Academy,” said Bustamante. “I expect it will be an educational experience unlike one I’ve ever had. More than anything, I look forward to learning more about different perspectives on art history from my fellow participants.”

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