The High Museum of Art established the David C. Driskell Prize in 2005 to celebrate contributions to African-American art and art history. Past prizes have honored artists, scholars and curators from across the country, among them Rashid Johnson, Valerie Cassel Oliver, Renee Stout and Krista A. Thompson.
In her 12 years at the museum’s helm, the Spelman alumna has built a distinguished program devoted to women of the African diaspora, which has encompassed exhibitions of art historical figures and those of provocative, cutting-edge artists. A condensed version of “Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970,” co-curated with Cassel Oliver, was included in the 11th Havana Biennial in 2012, marking the first time a U.S. curatorial team was invited to participate.
Brownlee, who received the inaugural Nexus Award from the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center in 2010, has earned a reputation for positive energy and an ability to engage audiences in serious but accessible dialogue about art and the issues it raises. Among current efforts, she is close to completing a campaign to acquire 15 select works from past shows for the museum’s collection and to expand its guided travel program.
Brownlee will receive $25,000 and will be honored at the annual Driskell Prize Dinner on April 13, the proceeds from which benefit the David C. Driskell African-American Art Acquisitions Fund and the David C. Driskell African-American Art Endowment.