Boxes at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art.


The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art has named two new appointees to positions related to African-American art: Erin Jenoa Gilbert as curator of African-American manuscripts and Rayna Andrews as archivist for the institution’s African American Collecting Initiative.

Gilbert, an independent curator with experience in various departments of Chicago’s Kruger Gallery and the Art Institute of Chicago as well as the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, will be charged with developing “a strategy for substantially increasing the collections of papers of and about African-American artists and will travel nationally to acquire collections,” according to an announcement. “Her work will result in the creation of online finding aids for scores of the Archives’ collections on African American art. These finding aids will greatly increase access and usability of the collections and will serve as critical resources for those performing research in the field.”

Andrews, previously an archivist at the University of Pennsylvania and Bryn Mawr College, will help to archive a three-year African American Collecting Initiative that was launched last year with a $575,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to “build upon the Archives’ existing collections by and about African American artists.”

Both positions add to an Archives of American Art initiative that was founded in 1954.