Alliance of HBCU Museums & Galleries

Our Mission

The Alliance of HBCU Museums and Galleries (the Alliance) is a non-profit organization comprised of fourteen member colleges and universities classified as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), each of which maintains and operates a museum or gallery and associated collections of art. Our primary goals are:

  • To contribute to the diversification of the museum and art world through the preparation and training of outstanding students and recent alumni from our member HBCUs in museum studies, art conservation, archives, and artistry.
  • To support the preservation, sustenance, and operations of our member museums and galleries and their collections and staff.

About Us

Recognizing the enormity of the task of enhancing efforts to diversify the arts community, and recognizing the other organizations and programs that support this effort, the Alliance works with key strategic partners to develop dynamic programs for our students. Through our annual diversity workshops and other collaborative meetings, we convene our key partners and other interested parties in order to facilitate, foster, and encourage collaboration, learn from best practices, address the challenges of our respective organizations or institutions, and discuss and brainstorm collaborative diversity initiatives for our students.

Dr. Jontyle Theresa Robinson

Dr. Jontyle Theresa Robinson is the founder of the Alliance of HBCU Museums and Galleries and was later joined in this effort by Dr. Caryl McFarlane. Robinson is a third-generation HBCU college graduate. Her grandmother Ethel Teresa Nathan Grovey finished an HBCU and her grandmother received her Masters from Texas Southern University and while there was enrolled in classes taught by artist John Biggers. Her grandfather graduated from Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas. Robinson’s mother Irma Jontyle Grovey Robinson received her AB from Huston-Tillotson and an MBA and MA in Economics from Atlanta University. All HBCUs. Robinson grew up on the campus of Morris Brown College where her mother was affiliated for 37 years. Robinson’s father Fred Alonzo Robinson graduated from Clark College in Atlanta in 1948.

Robinson graduated from Clark College in 1968. Her interests in the visual arts and music were deeply supported by her parents who were accomplished musicians and artists. Creating an Alliance of HBCU Museums and Galleries would be a natural progression for Robinson since she was aware of so much that is positive and inspiring emerging from these remarkable educational institutions over three generations. In 2016, Robinson conceptualized the Alliance of HBCU Museums & Galleries, a coalition of 14 Historically Black College and University Museums and Galleries. She is the inaugural director.

Presently, Dr. Robinson is a 2022 UNCFMellon Fellow at the National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and is conducting research for Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists, 1996 and Revelations from Bearing Witness, 2026. Her groundbreaking research on Archibald Motley at the Chicago History Center resulted in New York City’s Kenkeleba Gallery “Three Masters: Archibald Motley, Eldzier Cortor, and Hughie Lee Smith.” In 1991, the Chicago History Center mounted “The Art of Archibald John Motley, Jr.” from her decade-long research which was also the foundation for the Whitney Museum’s exhibition “Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist” on view from October 2015–January 2016.

She curated and co-authored “Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists,” the first exhibition/catalogue of contemporary African American women artists touring America, for the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art’s contribution to the 1996 Olympics. Spelman is the #1 HBCU in America. She is presently conducting research for the thirty-year anniversary of “Bearing Witness,” a digital version of the 1996 exhibition, and an exhibition and catalogue called “Revelations from Bearing Witness 2026.”

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Alliance of HBCU Museums and Galleries Board members:

Debbie Hess Norris

Ian McClure

Jonathan Beckham

Jamaal Sheats (ex officio)

Prayy Robinson

Director’s Assistant

Poised, personable, and punctual. Georgia State University ’22. I am passionate about art conservation, sustainability, fashion, and education. 

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Heather Afriyie

Web Designer and Communication Specialist

A Deaf artist and graphic designer, she’s a graduate from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Her expertise includes high quality graphic design work such as logos, flyers, and website designs as well as book illustrations. In her free time, she loves drawing characters and painting.

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