The Arts and Education Council (A&E) has named Webster University senior Quinton Ward the 2018 Katherine Dunham Fellowship recipient. The program, created by Sara and Jack Burke and managed by A&E, gives African-American men and women an opportunity to explore, gain experience and be mentored in arts administration, creating a more diverse pipeline of arts leaders. This will be A&E’s first year offering the fellowship after seven successful and transformative years with the Regional Arts Commission. Ward is the first-ever male recipient of the Fellowship.

The program is named in honor of legendary dancer, choreographer, educator and social activist, Katherine Dunham. Considered one of the most successful dancers of the 20th century, Dunham founded the Performing Arts Training Center (PATC) at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Center (an A&E grantee). Dunham taught dance, along with foreign language, cultural history and anthropology at the PATC.

Sara Burke was the first Caucasian dancer to study under Dunham at the PATC, which not only shaped her dancing career but also inspired her to “bear witness” for social justice causes. “Being taught by professors from around the world who couldn’t eat or sleep where they performed in the 1950s is something that’s informed my entire life,” she explained. Burke lauds her mentor Katherine Dunham as being “extraordinary” not only for her teachings in dance, but for the social justice causes she championed. The Katherine Dunham Fellowship is an opportunity for young African-Americans to continue Dunham’s legacy in the arts and social justice.

"The Arts and Education Council is thrilled to welcome Quinton as the first-ever male recipient of this important program," said Cynthia A. Prost, A&E president and CEO. "With his sparkling personality, artistic talent and commitment to community, Quinton stood out in an exceptionally strong applicant pool. He is a great example of the next generation of arts leaders in St. Louis."

As the 2018 Fellow, Ward receives a $3,000 stipend, experience in all the critical skills needed to manage an arts organization – including fundraising, corporate relations, database management, fiscal and board management – and mentorship from current arts administrators and leaders.

“I am very thankful to be chosen by the Arts and Education Council to receive the Katherine Dunham Fellowship,” said Ward. “This honor encourages me to keep moving forward and validates the work that I am doing and gives me an opportunity to learn about the field of art administration while building relationships with current leaders in the field.”

One goal of the program is to see a representation in the city’s arts institutions — large and small alike — of African-American and other minority leadership at all levels.

“The Katherine Dunham Fellowship is fulfilling a need in the community that many haven’t considered before, which is how do we get more African-Americans in roles of arts leadership,” said Antionette Carroll, founder and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab and the first recipient of the Katherine Dunham Fellowship.

In the program’s first seven years, the Katherine Dunham Fellows have become a cohort of peers that support each other personally and professionally.

“The power of having people together on your same journey and advancing your passions is transformative,” explained Carroll. “The Katherine Dunham Fellowship was the catalyst and spark that put each of us on our paths.”

Ward will continue the Fellowship through May 2018, when he is slated to graduate from Webster University’s Department of Art, Design and Art History with a bachelor’s of fine arts in graphic design.