In partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago, Northwestern University has announced grants totaling nearly $1.3 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of a program designed to advance the study of art history, with a focus on working with art objects.
The grants will fund the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Chicago Objects Study Initiative, a four-year, inter-institutional pilot program designed to provide doctoral students in art history with enhanced coursework and training in objects-based research. To that end, COSI will work to increase student access to works of art from the Art Institute's permanent holdings and leverage the expertise of the museum's curatorial and professional staff, with the goal of providing students with the tools, skills, and experiences they need for positions in museums, libraries, and other research settings involving collections.
In addition, three Mellon Research Fellows — two graduate students from the University of Chicago and one from Northwestern — will receive year-long fellowships at the Art Institute, where they will be matched with appropriate departments and curatorial mentors who will supervise and support their research on objects in the museum's collection. Each year, Northwestern also will select one graduate student to work in a curatorial department as a Mellon Curatorial Intern.
"This ambitious collaboration made possible by the Mellon Foundation heralds a new era of collaboration between the Art Institute and the art history programs at two great Chicago universities," said Douglas Druick, president and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute. "All three partners have long desired to establish a closer relationship. This generous grant addresses a significant need in both research and training and also promises to integrate our institutions as never before. In the process, it will greatly enrich the practice of art history."