Sophomore Hayleigh Stonham ’22 is among only 15 undergraduates selected for the Mellon Summer Academy, to be held in August at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. This is the third consecutive year an Oglethorpe student has been selected.
“I applied to the program to try to broaden my opportunities and experience the creative atmosphere that working with 14 other students from around the nation will allow,” said Stonham, an Art History major. “The opportunity is one of a kind, and having the chance to network with curators and artists is crucial for advancing my career.”During the week-long immersive experience, the students 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.
Stonham currently interns at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art (OUMA), where she helps to organize OUMA Nights, an evening program for students in the museum. Recently, she was awarded a scholarship from the Southeastern Pastel Society. Stonham is also active in the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and the Oglethorpe History Club.
Students invited to the Mellon Summer Academy are eligible for consideration for the Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship, a highly selective, intensive 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.
The rising junior credited her firsthand experience to her work with OUMA’s Curator of Collections John Tilford and Museum Director Elizabeth Peterson for giving her the foundational knowledge needed to be a successful candidate for the program. Professor Dr. Jeffrey Collins offered Stonham valuable guidance and encouragement during her application process, as well. Stonham has now passed the first hurdle to qualify for the fellowship. Opportunities like the Mellon Academy and Fellowship are typically offered to graduate-level students, making the Mellon Foundation program a unique learning experience for freshman and sophomore undergrads in the growing field of museum studies.
With her Oglethorpe degree, Stonham hopes to one day open a non-profit art gallery in Atlanta.
“The idea was inspired by an amalgamation of Jean-Michel Basquiat knowledge and the struggling artists that practically line the streets at Little Five Points,” she explained. “A non-profit art gallery in that area could give struggling artists an opportunity to work and display their artwork to possible buyers. Because how many possible Basquiats exist that haven’t been given that one opportunity like he was given?”