Toledo Museum of Art awards TMA Leadership Fellowship
The Toledo Museum of Art has awarded Lauren Applebaum the TMA Leadership Fellowship. Applebaum completed her Ph.D. in art history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The recently established TMA Leadership Fellowship Program has been endowed with gifts from Scott and Margy Trumbull and the late Dorothy MacKenzie Price, and a challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
“Dr. Applebaum’s education and experience make her a great choice for the TMA Leadership Fellowship,” said Lynn Miller, associate director at Toledo Museum of Art. “We believe TMA will give her the opportunities that will allow her to use her past business and curatorial experience to continue to develop and excel as a museum leader.”
The goal of the fellowship program is to prepare and cultivate the next generation of museum leaders through an innovative, experiential program that combines direct experience in strategic planning, curatorial and program leadership, board engagement, donor stewardship, financial and resource management, and policy development, along with building partnerships across the broader industry and community.
Leadership fellows work closely with TMA’s executive staff on projects related to the day-to-day operation of the Museum, conduct research and complete an independent project related to a personal or scholarly interest in the field of museum work. Three members of TMA’s staff have been appointed as directors of art museums in America in the past two years.
“As a Toledo native who has benefited from the Museum in innumerable ways over the years, I am thrilled to accept this fellowship and have the opportunity to advance TMA’s mission of visual literacy and accessibility,” said Applebaum. “I look forward to helping the Museum further expand its audience through engaging exhibition strategies, creative programing and educational outreach.”
Applebaum brings over a decade of museum and art world experience to this position. Most recently she was the GSK Curatorial Fellow in American Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh (NCMA), where she participated in significant museum acquisitions and collection building projects. While at the NCMA, Applebaum was co-curator of the traveling exhibition The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art, which presented a site of encounter and conversation between the pioneering modernist works of Georgia O’Keeffe and a diverse group of twenty emerging artists who explore themes shared by O’Keeffe’s enchanting artistic language. While introducing audiences to a new generation of American artists, the exhibition provided a fresh look at O’Keeffe through her continued relevance to contemporary artists working today. Research and evaluation Applebaum conducted through public outreach with museum audiences in Raleigh demonstrated that attendance rises when viewers can personally connect and identify with the material presented—when historical objects are enlivened by their continued cultural relevance.
“In a community that values diversity, inclusion and public access, expanding the art historical narrative to include the voices of women and under-represented minorities across historical and cultural boundaries is a mission that I will continue to pursue during my leadership fellowship at TMA,” Applebaum said.
Fellowship applicants must have completed their doctoral studies within five years of applying for the fellowship, have a specialty in one of the collection priorities of the Museum, be strong academically, have both a potential for and an interest in museum leadership and be able to make a two-year commitment to TMA.
Prior to accepting this position, Applebaum’s doctoral work was supported by fellowships at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Huntington Library (Calif.), the American Council of Learned Societies and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Her doctoral dissertation explored the intersections between American art and new social technologies like the telegraph and telephone between the mid-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries—a project that resonates on many levels with our current digital age and contemporary art practices.
While at the University of Illinois Applebaum organized an interdisciplinary symposium on “The Collecting Impulse,” which drew scholars from around the globe to explore conversations about elite and popular forms of collecting. In conjunction with this event she curated an exhibition of contemporary art at the Krannert Art Museum, which focused on the theme of the artist as collector.
Before earning her doctorate, Applebaum received a master’s degree in art history from Hunter College of the City University of New York and a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition to her academic and museum fellowship positions, she also worked in New York City, both in art advisory and gallery roles, and in the executive office at Christie’s.