Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, director and curator of TSU’s University Museum and art history professor, was presented with the Dr. John E. Fleming Award at the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) annual conference on August 2. The Fleming Award is the highest honor presented by AAAM and recognizes museum professionals who have contributed outstanding expertise and exceptional dedication to African and African American-focused museums through a career spanning twenty years or more.

Dr. Wardlaw has mentored countless students of color to pursue careers in the museum field ranging from curatorial to conservation. She organized over 75 exhibitions on African and African-American art, including retrospectives of John Biggers and Kermit Oliver, during her 22-year tenure as curator of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Art, Houston. She organized contemporary African art, creative designs of the quilt makers of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, and the self-taught genius of Thornton Dial at MFA-Houston.

Dr. Wardlaw is the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Texas at Austin. She serves on the board of the Orange Show Foundation and the Emancipation Park Conservancy in Houston, and is an honorary trustee of Museum of Fine Art, Houston. She serves on the Scholarly Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and is a trustee of Wellesley College.

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