In 2020, the Mary Ann Unger Estate launched the inaugural Mary Ann Unger Estate Curatorial Fellowship in order to increase activity around and engagement with the work of the late sculptor.

The Fellowship offers a curatorial opportunity to research Mary Ann Unger’s artwork and legacy through the Estate, Archives, and the artists’ family.

Fellows contribute essays for publication and curate exhibition proposals based on their research.

2021 Fellowship Recipient

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Stephanie Sparling Williams, PhD

Andrew W. Mellon Curator of American Art at the Brooklyn Museum


Stephanie Sparling Williams is the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of American Art at the Brooklyn Museum. Prior to her appointment at the Brooklyn Museum, she was the Associate Curator at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, a Visiting Lecturer in Art History and Africana Studies at Mount Holyoke College, and the Assistant Curator at the Addison Gallery of American Art. In 2016-2017, she was the John Walsh Fellow at the Yale University Art Gallery.

Sparling Williams has organized numerous exhibitions including Wayfinding: Contemporary Arts, Critical Dialogues, and the Sidney R. Knafel Map Collection with Allison Kemmerer (2020) at the Addison Gallery of American Art; Harlem: In Situ (2019), also at the Addison; From America to Americas (2018), sponsored by the Tang Institute at Phillips Academy; Color & Device: Contemporary Art in the Addison’s Collection (2018), and Gun Country (2018). She is currently working on a two-year exhibition celebrating 75 years of the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College, featuring newly commissioned work by artists Lenka Clayton and Vanessa German, and scheduled to open fall 2021.

Sparling Williams is the recent recipient of the inaugural Mary Ann Unger Estate Fellowship (2020); the Association of Art Museum Curator’s Mentorship Award (2019); and the Brace Center Faculty Fellowship in Gender Studies at Phillips Academy (2019).

Sparling Williams holds a M.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity, and a certificate in Visual Studies from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. in Fine Art and Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Her book on feminist conceptual artist Lorraine O’Grady, Speaking Out of Turn: Lorraine O’Grady and the Art of Language is now out by the University of California Press.

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