Thelma Golden

  • Director and chief curator, Studio Museum in Harlem


During her fellowship, Thelma will explore what has—and has not—changed in the nonprofit cultural sector over the past 20 years, and examine strategies for expanding the presence and visibility of curators of color in the museum field.

Thelma Golden serves as director and chief curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Thelma shook the visual arts world as a young curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she was a member of the curatorial team for the landmark 1993 biennial and organized exhibitions such as the groundbreaking Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art of 1994. Trailblazing has been Thelma’s signature ever since. Returning to the Studio Museum in 2000, she has continued to demand attention for emerging artists and provoke new thinking about contemporary culture. Under her leadership, the Studio Museum has secured its position as an internationally important catalyst in advancing the work of artists of African descent.

Thelma has curated more than 20 exhibitions at the Studio Museum and led an innovative curatorial team in organizing many more. Her exhibitions and initiatives bring new perspectives to the work of established artists and draw attention to emerging voices. Under her leadership, the museum’s foundational Artist-in-Residence program has grown into a globally renowned launching pad for artists of African and Latino heritage. Thelma has also strengthened the museum’s public and educational programs, research and scholarship initiatives, and deep commitment to serving broad and diverse audiences from Harlem and around the world.