Katherine Dunham Fellowship | Arts and Education Council of St. Louis

Katherine Dunham Fellowship

Named in honor of the dancer, choreographer and activist, the Katherine Dunham Fellowship was created and initially funded by Sara and Jack Burke to give African-American individuals an opportunity to explore, gain experience in and be mentored in the field of arts administration and to subsequently find employment and achieve success working at local arts and cultural institutions. The expansion of the program to support a second paid fellowship in fall 2018 is made possible by the generous support of Carol Corey and William Holcomb.

After seven transformative and successful years at the Regional Arts Commission, the Katherine Dunham Fellowship relocated to the Arts and Education Council in 2018 to develop African-American leadership in the arts. The move to the Arts and Education Council has expanded the program to include immersion in fundraising, corporate relations, donor database management, fiscal and board management, all critical skills needed to manage an arts organization in the 21st century.

Applications for the 2020 Katherine Dunham Fellowship will open in the fall.

Goals of the Katherine Dunham Fellowship:

  • Explore possible career paths in arts administration
  • Develop and foster useful arts administration skills
  • Gain valuable work experience in different aspects of arts administration
  • Be introduced to many aspects of arts administration including development, gift processing and database management, donor communications, marketing, grant making and management within a local arts agency
  • Participate in networking opportunities at the administrative level
  • Establish connections within the St. Louis arts community
  • Enhance resume and further develop career goals and opportunities in arts administration

Applicants to the Katherine Dunham Fellowship must meet the following qualifications:

  • African-American undergraduate junior, senior, graduate level student or recent graduate (1-3 years);
  • Educational background in any academic area, including but not limited to the arts (e.g., liberal arts and humanities, business, social work, nonprofit management, marketing and communications, etc.);
  • Expressed interest in pursuing a career in arts administration, primarily within the nonprofit arena (arts funding or arts service agencies, dance companies, museums, theaters, performing arts or community cultural centers, etc.);
  • Expressed interest in social justice and the role the arts can play in bringing people together to solve community problems;
  • Ability to work 16 hours per week during the course of the fellowship during normal Arts and Education Council business hours (Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm). The Arts and Education Council is located in the Centene Center for the Arts, 3547 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO 63103 in the Grand Center Arts District;
  • Ability to spend approximately 2-5 hours per week on extracurricular activities outside of work (may include attending complimentary arts and culture events, social networking events, Arts and Education Council special events, Katherine Dunham related events/classes, etc.); and
  • Individual means of reliable transportation and a current driver’s license is required to apply.

The selection process considers eligible candidates from the St Louis metropolitan area.

One selected Katherine Dunham Fellow will receive:

  • A $3,000 honorarium (distributed on the last day of each month during the fellowship).
  • The opportunity to attend the annual St. Louis Arts Awards event in January.
  • Receive complimentary tickets to local arts and culture events and be responsible for acting as a representative of Arts and Education Council.
  • One-year membership in the Arts and Education Council’s Young Friends of the Arts affinity group.
  • Informational interview meetings with 4-8 local African-American arts administrators, artists and arts leaders.
  • Meaningful on-the-job training and experience of working in a nonprofit arts organization.
  • Opportunity to be mentored by members of the Arts and Education Council staff and board, Sara and Jack Burke and members of the Katherine Dunham alumni network.

To apply for the Katherine Dunham Fellowship, please complete the application by including the following information:

  • A cover letter summarizing your educational and demographic background and expressing your interest in the internship;
  • A résumé outlining your education, work and extracurricular experience;
  • A signed and dated letter of reference from a professor, academic advisor or a recent employer that includes the writer’s reflections on your qualities, characteristics and suitability for the internship experience;
  • A one-page, single-spaced essay answering the following questions: “Why are you interested in arts administration and/or community arts? How will this internship help you achieve your career goals? What aspects of Katherine Dunham’s legacy do you find personally inspirational?”

*All attachments submitted through the online application must be in a PDF file format.

Questions? Contact Matthew R. Kerns, manager of grants and programs, by email or at 314.289.4007.