As the recipient of the William A. Camfield Undergraduate Fellowship, Leah Olivo '21 will work as a fellow in the coming academic year at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) under the guidance of a professional museum curator in the Latin American Art department.
Leah is no stranger to researching and working amongst the local Houston art museums, but she expresses an earnest wish to work under the ever expanding wings of the MFAH:
"I want to be able to work interdepartmentally among conservation, publications, installations, programming, design, and other departments I may not even be aware of at the Museum of Fine Arts. I want a holistic knowledge of the museum world, and the Camfield Fellowship will teach me this.
A benefit of a larger museum like the MFAH is the number of visitors which leaves behind a greater impact. I want to be a part of this impact, educating communities that are often absent from museums. Being Afro-Latina, I know that I am not represented often in museums, whether it be the art hanging on the walls, the visitors to the institution, or the people who make museums run. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation published a report in 2019 that stated that only 16% of curatorial positions are held by people of color, with even lower percentages in conservation and museum leadership. While museum goers are more diverse, the demographics do not reflect the demographics of the United States.
My presence as a curatorial fellow at the MFAH would help me change these statistics, eventually opening more positions for people of color. Working within the Museum’s Latin American Art department, I would increase representation on the Museum’s walls, which will hopefully aid in increasing diversity in the Museum’s visitors."