Connecting and Learning Together in 2022

Against a backdrop of continuing challenges in our country’s public health, racial equity, democracy, and environmental realms, 2022 also brings welcome opportunities to come together for collegial exchange and mutual learning advancing the AEF community’s charitable impact in its philanthropic and art stewardship work.


The 2022 Artist-Endowed Foundation Leadership Forum will take place online on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 24 and 25.

A much-anticipated biennial tradition, the AEF Leadership Forum convenes AEF board and staff leaders and graduates of AEFI’s Seminar on Strategy for AEF Leaders to share knowledge about critical issues and opportunities influencing the field and welcome new AEF colleagues to the community. Please stay tuned for details on the Forum program and registration invitations.


2022 will debut an important community-wide professional education, research, and feasibility planning project spurred by AEF leaders’ commitment, forged amid the pandemic and rising call for racial justice, to work together to foster the next generation of BIPOC leaders in the visual arts and advance the community’s conversation around effective DEAI practice in order to pursue this commitment most beneficially.

AEFI’s project: Increasing the AEF Community’s DEAI Capacity to Host BIPOC Internships/Fellowships will get underway in February with an online, four-part workshop series for AEF board and staff leaders, detailed here.

The purpose of this timely project is to:
• Advance the AEF community’s conversation on effective DEAI practice;
• Help AEF leaders build their organizations’ DEAI capacity focused in particular on hosting internships and fellowships for BIPOC undergraduate and graduate students interested in careers in the visual arts; and
• Assess feasibility and plan for a potential AEF initiative by which a consortium of AEFs hosting internships and fellowships for BIPOC students would collaborate to optimize the impact of this work with respect to its pedagogic and professional development benefits to participating interns.

In addition to the spring workshop series, which will be book-ended with a fall workshop series (dates and details to be announced), the project encompasses these activities:

• Research – Building on the initial scan of AEF internship practices undertaken in 2008 for the National Study of Artist-Endowed Foundations, published in 2010, survey and interview a cross section of AEF leaders about their organizations’ current DEAI and internship practices, including with BIPOC students, lessons they’ve learned and questions they’ve encountered, as well as resources they see as needed to support the success of this work.

• Knowledge Resource Portfolio – Assemble tools and information AEF leaders can use to orient themselves and their colleagues to the DEAI conversation. Prepare a bibliography on the topics of effective DEAI practice and internship/fellowship practice, including for BIPOC students. Research and develop a descriptive list of current AEF projects, conducted directly as well as grant-supported, focused on these goals.

• Working Group – Convene AEF leaders and the administrators who manage established BIPOC internship/fellowship programs to evaluate the feasibility of and recommend a plan for an initiative by which an AEF consortium could partner with these programs to host synchronous internships/fellowships, deliver a curricular module educating about the AEF field and its professional practices, and mentor participating students’ aspirations for advancement in the visual arts field.

• Allies/Advisors/Experts – Identify experts and experienced practitioners to inform professional development activities as well as feasibility assessment, planning, resource development, evaluation design, and identification of required staff and advisory expertise necessary to implement a potential BIPOC internship/fellowship consortial initiative for the AEF community. See bios for the Project Advisors here and the Project Consultant here.

• Status Report – Advance the AEF community’s discussion by hosting an online convening to share in-process updates on research findings and feasibility assessment and planning efforts; gather feedback via small-group conversations.

• AEF Consortium – Identify a group of AEF leaders interested in advancing a potential BIPOC internship/fellowship consortial initiative, these leaders positioned to engage in collegial learning as well as provide an effective educational experience for their interns/fellows enhanced by a curricular module educating about the AEF field and its professional practices.

• Proposed Program Plan – Assemble the Working Group’s recommendation and AEF community feedback into a proposed program plan keyed to implementation in the 2023 cycle of established BIPOC internship/fellowship programs; secure the resources required to realize this vision.


Warm thanks to the AEF community members who make AEFI’s programs possible through their leadership, participation, and charitable support, including the more than 60 AEFs that have provided support to make possible this year’s work advancing the AEFI community’s professional practice in DEAI and BIPOC internships/fellowships, as well as AEFI’s Lead Underwriters who provide core support for AEFI’s work.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected] with any questions or comments on AEFI’s plans for 2022.

Please also let me know if you are eager to be included in the interviews that will be conducted by Project Consultant Nikki Kirk.


Christine J. Vincent
Project Director
Aspen Institute Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative/AEFI