The Foundation has worked with the St. Louis Art Museum for the past three years to host Romare Bearden Fellows in New York. The St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM) Post Graduate Minority Fellowship was started in 1992 with the objective to cultivate future museum professionals from historically underrepresented groups or backgrounds by advancing the knowledge, skills, and networking capabilities that enable museum careers.
Bearden Fellows receive hands-on work experience in various museum functions, including curatorial, public programing, interpretive materials, audience development, marketing and fundraising. While specific assignments are tailored to the Museum;s needs as well as the Bearden Fellow’s skill and interests, all Fellows receive individualized mentoring and training from senior museum staff that fosters confidence building critical to entry level museum professionals.
After nearly thirty years the annual Romare Bearden Graduate Museum program is expanding from one Fellow to two Fellows and from a one-year program to a two-year program.
Shaka Myrick is a Midwest native. After graduating from Lincoln College Prep High School in Kansas City, Missouri, she actively pursued the history and practice of fine art. Shaka earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting at the University of Missouri, Columbia. She spent the next decade working and interning at Nych Art Gallery in Chicago, Illinois, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Focusing on the African diaspora, Shaka frequently travels abroad to study contemporary art culture. Following her independent research in Bahia, Salvador, Shaka completed her Master of Art History at the University of Missouri, Kansas City concentrating on West African culture and presence in Brazil. In 2020 she curated Real Black at the UMKC Gallery of Art. As the gallery’s first exhibition featuring all Black artists, Shaka successfully executed virtual and in-person programs during the global pandemic.
Shaka Myrick is the 2021 – 2023 Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellow.
Delyn Stephenson is a 2017 graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in Art History & Archeology with an emphasis in Modern & Contemporary Art with a Multicultural Certificate. In 2020 she graduated from the University of Missouri St. Louis’ with a Master’s in History through the Museums, Public History, and Heritage program. While at UMSL, she interned at The Griot Museum of Black History to create Still We Thrive The Neighborhoods of Fountain Park, Lewis Place, and The Ville, an exhibit created with the Museums Public History and Heritage program. Delyn also completed an internship with St. Louis’ Contemporary Art Museum in Development and the Audience and Learning & Engagement. For the last three years, she was on staff at the National Blues Museum, working directly with the Deputy Director to reinvigorate the fundraising, programming, exhibitions, and day-to-day management.
Delyn Stephenson is the 2021 – 2022 Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellow.
Victoria McCraven (2020—2021) earned her bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College, majoring in Geography and minoring in Art History. While at Dartmouth, she worked at the Hood Museum of Art. Among her numerous projects at Hood, Victoria curated the exhibition Black Bodies on the Cross. She was selected as a 2019-2020 U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Postgraduate Grantee to complete her master's degree in History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Combining her background in Geography and Art History, Victoria applies an interdisciplinary approach to her work. As a current fellow at the Saint Louis Art Museum, Victoria is working on a number the virtual programs including the annual If It Wasn’t for the Women panel.
Alexis Assam (2018-2019) is originally from Florida, Alexis holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in art history from Florida State University. She co-curated of the exhibition The Shape of Abstraction: Selections from the Ollie Collection at the St. Louis Art Museum 2019- 2020. She currently works for the Philadelphia Museum of Art in her second year as the Constance E. Clayton Curatorial Fellow, working within the contemporary art department on a number of current and upcoming exhibitions. These include Fault Lines: Contemporary Abstraction by Artists from South Asia and the Future Fields Commission in Time-based Media, a collaboration between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo featuring Martine Syms in 2021 and Lawrence Abu Hamdan in 2022.
Jade Powers (2017-2018) is currently an Assistant Curator at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. From 2016–2017, Powers worked at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. While a fellow at the St Louis Art Museum she "created the first interpretative gallery guide to highlight works by African American artists in the museum's permanent collection, and worked with the curators of prints, drawings, and photographs and modern and contemporary art to research and create text for a recent gift to the institution of eighty-one abstract works of art by African American artists," [notes an announcement.] "Her responsibilities also included the implementation of public programs including, 'If It Wasn't for the Women,' as well as presenting gallery talks, guided tours, and creating a teacher workshop to help teachers add information about abstract art by African American artists to their curriculum."
Yvonne Osei (2016-2017) is a practicing transmedial artist and adjunct faculty at Webster University. Recently announced, Osei is the recipient of the 2018 St. Louis Visionary Award for emerging artist. Osei completed a master of fine arts degree in visual arts at Washington University in St. Louis and holds bachelor degrees with concentrations in graphic design and international studies from Webster University. During her fellowship at the Saint Louis Art Museum, she assisted with the special exhibition Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715-2015. She is currently showcasing her work, Yvonne Osei: Tailored Landscapes, at the Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, Mo. The exhibition will run until March 4th.
Courtney Baxter (2015-2016) is the education manager at the Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum. Baxter completed a master‘s degree in public history at Loyola University Chicago in 2014 and holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Illinois, Springfield. During her time as the Romare Bearden Fellow, Baxter worked to coordinate the Teens Arts Council and facilitated Art in the Basic Curriculum field trips to the Saint Louis Art Museum. As the education manager, she is putting the skills that she learned as the 22nd Romare Bearden Fellow to good use. She manages and facilitates school and teacher programs and plans monthly Celebrate Peoria events.
Jordia Benjamin (2014-2015) is the Mirken Coordinator of Academic and Public Programs at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine. She completed a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from the University of Central Florida and holds both a bachelor’s degree in Art History and a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of South Florida. During her fellowship, she worked closely with the Friends of African American Art collector circle at the Saint Louis Art Museum and worked with the National Alliance of African American Art for their annual conference. Benjamin now shares her passion for visual arts and education with the Colby College community and adult audiences. She does this through public programs, co-editing the museum’s blog, and coordinating the museum’s summer teen program