Educating Tomorrow’s Arts Professionals

For 84 years, WAM has delivered provocative and thoughtful art experiences to both the University and Twin Cities communities. A greater investment in museum leadership training will allow more students to gain experiences that will give them a competitive edge in real-world art careers and postgraduate educational opportunities.

Through this campaign, we are expanding our focus on developing student leaders by establishing endowed funds that allow us to offer more paid internships and fellowships. Beyond scholarship money or a typical work-study job, WAM experiences offer unparalleled professional development opportunities for students interested in arts and cultural leadership.

Students work closely with staff on projects that range from planning special exhibitions, to making retailing and display decisions in the WAM shop, to participating in the accession process for the museum’s art rental program. The ability to offer these paid positions allows us to attract a more diverse pool of student talent.

The Carl and Patricia Sheppard Fund supports WAM initiatives, including paid internships and positions for graduate and undergraduate students. Herman is now studying sculpture in Berlin, Germany.

Driven to Lead

The E. Gerald and Lisa O’Brien Curatorial Fellowship awards a $25,000 stipend for a 12-month, full-time experience working as a WAM assistant curator. Ben Weil is the tenth fellow funded by the O’Briens and he will focus on curating an exhibition for the Edith Carlson Gallery. WAM fellows and interns have gone on to secure placements in highly competitive Ph.D. programs, become assistant curators at other major museums, continue working in the curatorial field with local arts organizations and colleges, and find positions in arts administration.

“The O’Brien Fellowship is a fantastic opportunity for me to make meaningful contributions as I learn about working in a museum and develop the skills to curate my own exhibit. It is a great platform for me as I apply to graduate school this fall and plan on a museum career in the future.” – Ben Weil, 2018 E. Gerald and Lisa O’Brien Curatorial Fellow

It will take a spirited combination of talent, leadership, and philanthropic support to achieve our goal of 2 million to endow fellowships at the museum. We invite you to join us on our journey ever onward.


Philanthropic Opportunity

  • Museum Education Fellowship: 9 month position – $450,000
  • Access & Inclusion Fellowship with the Education Department: 3 month position – $200,000
  • Curatorial Fellowship: 3 month position – $200,000
  • Creative Collaboration Curatorial Fellowship: 12 month position – $650,000
  • Registration Fellowship: 9 month position – $450,000
  • Project-Based Paid Internships: various lengths – $175,000

To make a gift or for more information, contact Patti Phillips ( at 612.625.9678.