Kristen Sorth, Director and CEO of the St. Louis County Library System, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the goings on at the SLCL. ----
Among the happenings are the community outreach programs, including the diaper give-aways, and period supply give-aways for those that need them.----
Also discussed are the covid protocols and the ways the library has handled things during the pandemic, with curbside book programs, and online functions... as well as the massive renovation project happening within the system. ----
“I really believe I have the greatest job ever,” says Sorth, who celebrated 20 years with the St. Louis County Library in 2018. “All I have to do is walk into a branch and see the level of engagement between our staff and the community to know that all of our efforts are worth it.” When Sorth became Director in 2013 – the first woman to hold the title for the library system – she took over management of its more than 650 employees and $50 million annual budget and faced an enormous task ahead – a $120 million capital improvement project to renovate or replace 19 of the library’s 20 branches. (The project is on track for completion in 2022.).
Renée Franklin, Chief Diversity Officer for the St. Louis Art Museum, stopped by to speak with Nancy about her role at the Museum, and the Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellowship, among other topics.
Renée Brummell Franklin is the Chief Diversity Officer at the The Saint Louis Art Museum, a new position that will oversee the implementation of a report on diversity, equity, access and inclusion that was adopted in summer of 2020 by the museum’s board of commissioners. Franklin works closely with all museum departments to implement the report, which details immediate, actionable initiatives as well as longer-term considerations.
Franklin joined the museum as coordinator of community outreach programs in 1998. During her time at the museum, she has served in a sequence of roles of increasing responsibility. Most recently as director of audience development, Franklin led the museum’s efforts to expand and cultivate sustainable relationships with diverse audiences.
Franklin helped develop several successful initiatives at the museum, including the Friends of African American Art Collectors Circle, the Art with Us youth residency program, and the Teen Assistant Program, a mentoring program that includes paid, summer employment. Franklin has long overseen the Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellowship, a national model for increasing under-represented professionals working in museums.
Franklin received a master’s degree in education and master’s degree in business administration from Webster University and a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business administration from Towson University.
Professor Timothy G. Solberg of Washington University stopped by to speak with Nancy about a new course that aims to teach people about how to manage the arts as a business.
Tim Solberg has been appointed as the academic director for the business of the arts minor at WashU Olin. The business of the arts minor integrates specialized coursework, experiential learning and rich networking opportunities for undergraduate students looking to gain a deeper understanding of how business principles apply to a range of arts-related fields.
Launched in 2018, the program offers students a framework of business, financial, marketing and strategic approaches for managing a career out of their artistic pursuits.
Tim joined the Olin faculty in 2018. He is a professor of practice in finance as well as the academic director of the corporate finance and investments platform. He will lead the business of the arts minor program in opportunities that engage faculty, students, alumni, and community members.
The minor launched with a generous donation from Richard Ritholz, BSBA ’84, his wife Linda, who expressed a commitment to challenging students to practice their artistic endeavors with rigor and business savvy. The Ritholz’s donation is targeting the creation of new courses, experiential learning opportunities in the arts, scholarship funding and internship stipends, and paying for faculty members to teach and publicize the program.
“I am excited to be the academic director of the business of the arts program. I have always had a deep commitment to the arts, whether performing or design, or literature,” Tim said.
“We are designing a program that will have on-site experiential learning with fashion and garment design and creation, gallerists and museum managers, theater and media producers to learn the backstage operations methods. With my teaching experience in arts management at the premier arts and media management school in Chicago, Columbia College, and my own musical education, I am eager to mix finance and management with the arts and provide a hands-on experience for the students.”
In addition to his background in the arts, Tim has worked 30 years in finance, including as a corporate banker and investment advisor for endowment and foundation trustees on their asset allocation and spending policies.
ABOUT THE ROMARE BEARDEN GRADUATE MUSEUM FELLOWSHIP:
The Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellowship is a critical component in the museum’s long-established commitment to increase diversity among its professional staff. Past fellows have gone on to hold key positions at the Saint Louis Art Museum, as well as at other noteworthy museums and universities, including the Art Institute of Chicago, National Gallery of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art and University of Texas at Austin.
Named for African-American artist Romare Bearden, the paid fellowship is designed to prepare graduate students of color seeking careers as art historians and museum professionals. Fellows gain valuable hands-on experience working throughout the Art Museum on specific assignments tailored to their background and interests. Since the program’s inception in 1992, Bearden Fellows have spent their year teaching, researching works in the collection, developing programming, writing gallery materials and assisting curators with the development of exhibitions.
This year’s expansion of the fellowship is funded in part by the Romare Bearden Fellowship Endowment, which was created with a $100,000 gift from the Frost family.
About SHAKA MYRICK
Shaka Myrick (2021-2023) earned a bachelor’s degree in painting at the University of Missouri in Columbia and spent the next decade working and interning at the NYCH Art Gallery in Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City. She earned a master’s degree in art history from the University of Missouri–Kansas City, where she concentrated on West African culture and presence in Brazil. Last year, Myrick curated Real Black, the first exhibition featuring all Black artists at the UMKC Gallery of Art.
About DELYN STEPHENSON
Delyn Stephenson (2021-2022) earned a bachelor’s degree in art history and archaeology at the University of Missouri in Columbia and a master’s degree in history through the Museums, Public History, and Heritage program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. While at UMSL, Stephenson worked with the Griot Museum of Black History to create the exhibition Still We Thrive: The Neighborhoods of Fountain Park, Lewis Place, and The Ville. She also completed an internship with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and worked at the National Blues Museum in St. Louis.