— by Mellany Armstrong, Associate Director of Communications

Moore rising sophomore Kendyl Boyd spent a week peeking behind the curtain at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She was one of 15 students selected to attend the Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Summer Academy held at the museum June 18 – 23.

“I don’t think many people know about the inner workings of a museum,” said Boyd, who is majoring in Art Education. “It was pretty cool to see all the departments and how they work together to curate exhibitions and give people who attend those museums a great experience.”

The academy was the first for the PMA.

“I was pretty excited to be in the first cohort,” said Boyd, a Visionary Honors scholar. “I got to meet with curators in different departments, as well as museum educators, conservators and exhibition designers.”

The one-week immersion program exposes the participants to career options related to art and art history, with an emphasis on the curatorial field. Each Summer Academy includes workshops, tours, field trips and networking events with museum professionals. At the end of each Summer Academy, participants are invited to apply for a two-year curatorial fellowship program. Other participating 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 in Houston, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

“The program provides specialized training in the curatorial field for students from diverse backgrounds,” said Teyona Jackson, who coordinates the Summer Academy at PMA.


The students were divided into five teams, and each team was assigned a gallery within the museum. Boyd’s team focused on the American Art collection.

“We were assigned to come up with a new thematic mini exhibition,” she said. “We selected works we wanted to research, and we came up with the theme of the changing landscape of post-Civil War United States.”

Boyd chose to research Portrait of the Artist’s Mother by Henry Ossawa Tanner.

“Sarah Miller Tanner is an African American woman born into slavery, and he was highlighting her strength and resilience as a force within the family as well as the African American community during the early Civil Rights movement,” Boyd said. The teams then had to make presentations on their work.

“I’m very moved by the idea that a curator has the power to create the narrative through which history and culture is taught and learned in our society,” Boyd said.


Boyd became interested in art in middle school, and it was that middle school art teacher who inspired her to get an art education degree.

“I realized I wanted to encourage young artists, especially young artists of color,” she said. “I want as many young artists of color to see that art is a possible career path, that they can work in that industry.”

Her future includes becoming involved in community engaged art education.

“I want to work with different community organizations, much like the ones in the Philadelphia area,” she said. She’s also interested in creative direction and styling, as well as art direction, and branding and identity.

For now, though, she’s enjoying her summer.

“I’m going to try to go to the beach,” she said.


See more of Kendyl’s art here.