Philadelphia Museum Creates Center for African Art

To expand the scope and reach of its collection, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is creating a new center dedicated to the study, acquisition and care of art from continental Africa and the African diaspora.

“The missing continent from within our curatorial structure was Africa, and the stories and artistic production from the African diaspora,” said Sasha Suda, who last year became the museum’s director and chief executive. “Almost half of our population identifies as African American.”

The center will be called the Brind Center for African and African Diasporic Art, named for Ira Brind, a financier and museum trustee, who has made an undisclosed donation of funding and art.

“There is a lack of Africa in the museum — it was always my goal to help fill it,” Brind said. “It’s a passion of mine that I’ve been collecting and always intended to try to share.”

The museum continues to heal from sexual harassment allegations that shook the institution in 2020. The Brind Center is aimed at advancing the museum’s new Equity Agenda, which promised new employment, economic and artistic opportunities. It will promote scholarship, organize exhibitions and present public programs. The center will have a curatorial director and an assistant curator, as well as a fellowship program dedicated to the training of graduate students.

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