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Award for Excellence in Diversity

The Excellence in Diversity Award, established in 2017, recognizes outstanding efforts in arts programming, projects, and/or scholarship to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. The award may be made to either an institution or individual for demonstrated and significant advancement of diversity in non-profit institutions such as colleges or universities, museums or galleries, foundations, and/or cultural agencies, especially in areas related to including, embracing, and/or enhancing opportunities for people of all ages, cultures, ethnicities, religions/faiths, genders, differing abilities, and/or sexual orientations.

2018 Winner

Kellie Jones

Jones is associate professor in art history and archaeology and the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University. For over three decades, her work as a scholar, writer, and curator have focused on African American and African diaspora artists, Latinx and Latin American artists, and issues in contemporary art and museum theory.

Jones’s work wears the presence of artists that are otherwise overlooked. For example, her exhibition, Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960–1980, at the Hammer Museum, “offers an important rejoinder to those art historical, critical, curatorial and museological practices that refuse to acknowledge the significance of the scene and, crucially, of black artists to the history of 20th-century American art” (Isaiah Matthew Wooden, Huffington Post). In the New York Times, Holland Cotter notes with admiration the poetic, open-ended complexity of Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the 1960s” (Brooklyn Museum), writing, “The show gets the balance of history right . . . by letting it be confused and confusing, a thing of loose strands and hard questions.”

She is the author of two books published by Duke University Press, EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (2011), and South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s (2017), as well as articles for publications such as ArtForum and ThirdText. Jones has received numerous awards for both her scholarly research and exhibitions, including from the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University; and Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. In 2016 she was named a MacArthur Foundation fellow. 

Jury: Christine Young-Kyung Hahn, Kalamazoo College, co-chair; Susan D. Zurbigg, James Madison University, co-chair; Linda Earle, New York Arts Program; and Jacqueline Francis, California College of the Arts.