For her contributions to the preservation of African American art, the deputy director of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, Naima Keith, has been awarded the 2017 David C. Driskell Prize.
The Driskell Prize, from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, is the first award to recognize entry- or mid-level career artists and scholars who have made important contributions to African American art or art history. Established in 2005, it’s named after the artist and African American art scholar and comes with a $25,000 award.
“Like Professor Driskell, I am committed to supporting, exhibiting, and producing scholarship about artists of the African Diaspora,” Keith said by email.
“With the support of the award, I will carry on my work at the California African American Museum, where I am overseeing an array of strategic initiatives, as well as critical interventions that examine African American art, history, and culture, and also redefine the contours of American art and history in general.”
Last year, Keith became deputy director of CAAM, where she has curated installations that explore the intersections of race, gender and class. Those installations include Genevieve Gaignard’s “Smell the Roses” and Hank Willis Thomas’ “Black Righteous Space.” Previously, Keith curated lauded exhibits at the Studio museum in Harlem.
“The level of passion and dedication Naima has applied to providing a platform for contemporary African American artists is extraordinary,” Rand Suffolk, director of the High Museum, said in a statement.
Past recipients include L.A.-based artist Mark Bradford and art historian and MacArthur winner Kellie Jones. Keith will be honored at an April 28 dinner.
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