Sarah. A Trotty Cultural Internship Program


As part of its initiative to formalize its program in museum studies, the University Museum and the Department of Visual Arts and Performing Arts are pleased to announce the establishment of the Sarah A. Trotty Cultural Internship Program.  Beginning this summer, ten students will be selected to work for a week at local community art institutions which have historic collaborations with the African American community and with Texas Southern University.  The inaugural season begins with students working at the following institutions: The African American Library at the Gregory School; the Art League of Houston; The Buffalo Soldiers Museum; the Community Artists Collective; Emancipation Park; the Houston Museum of African American Culture; Project Row Houses; and the University Museum at TSU.  Each student will be given a specific project to work on at their assigned institution during the week- long internship and will have a mentor working directly with them.  The students will each receive a stipend of $500.00.  The program will be coordinated by Dr. Alvia J. Wardlaw, Director/Curator of the University Museum and Professor Leamon Green, Interim Chair, Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

Dr. Sarah A. Trotty served for nearly a decade as chairperson of the Department of Art at Texas Southern plus over twenty-one years as Art Coordinator after the retirement of Dr. John T. Biggers.  While maintaining the strong traditions of the art department, especially the mural and sculpture programs, Dr. Trotty brought the department into a new era, establishing a graphic art program as well as a more comprehensive art education curriculum. Dr. Trotty worked tirelessly to recruit students from broadly different backgrounds and was instrumental in working with art majors to increase the retention rate of undergraduates and the reclamation of former majors enrolled in the art program.  Her continued goal during her tenure at Texas Southern was to get young artists engaged in the art world outside of the classroom.  Dr. Trotty was instrumental in launching the University Museum.  She also organized a University Mural Conservation Advisory Group and a Mural Walking Tour for the TSU campus after completing a faculty research grant to interview alumni who completed murals for Hannah Hall.


Dr. Trotty has served in numerous leadership capacities in the art world including serving two terms as President of Five A, the African American Art Advisory Association at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  She is co-founder of the Community Artists Collective, a Board Member of the Rutherford B.H. Yates Museum (for Freedmen’s Town cultural preservation,) and a Trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  A member of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church for over fifty-four years, she serves on both the Deaconess Board and Family Group Leadership for the church. The establishment of the Sarah A. Trotty Cultural Internships was inspired in part by the participation of the University Museum in the professional activities of the Alliance of HBCU Museums and Galleries, and the opportunities made available to Texas Southern students through those initiatives established by Dr. Jontyle Robinson, CEO of the Alliance and Dr. Caryl McFarlane, Executive Consultant for the Alliance.  By developing local internships for Texas Southern students which focus on our regional mid-sized community institutions, the University Museum and the Department of Visual Arts effectively increase the capacity of our students to perform more effectively in national and international museum study experiences, workshops, and other professional development projects.

Upon completion of their respective summer programs, interns will participate in a symposium in the fall of 2018 at the University Museum to discuss their experiences as the inaugural group of Trotty Cultural Interns.  With the very real need for more professionals of color in the museum field, this program should serve not only to provide critical training in the field for students, but should simultaneously provide support for the institutions involved while addressing those needs and concerns of our mid-sized cultural institutions in the Houston area.

This project is made possible in part by the generous support of the Center for Curatorial Leadership, New York; the Emancipation Park Conservancy; the Volunteer Circle of the University Museum, and Elizabeth Easton.