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.
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  • 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.

Our Founders

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.”

Dr. Caryl Loney-McFarlane

Dr. Caryl Loney-McFarlane is a higher education diversity programs consultant, strategic planner, organization, and program developer, who seeks to aid in the racial healing of the nation one interaction at a time. She completed her undergraduate degree in English at Queens College, of the City University of New York (CUNY) and her MA and doctoral degrees in English from Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

While serving as the Senior Program Officer of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and visiting many HBCUs, she met Dr. Jontyle Robinson who initiated and spearheaded a meeting of HBCU curators and museum directors in 2016, the first such meeting of its kind.

Dr. Robinson solicited Dr. McFarlane’s assistance, and together they planned and received UNCF/Mellon funding for this critical convening. The primary outcome of the meeting of HBCU museum curators in 2016, was the development of the Alliance of HBCU Museums and Galleries, founded in 2017. 

Serving as the Executive Consultant for the Alliance from its inception, Dr. McFarlane helped to develop strategic partnerships between Alliance institutions and Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs); aided Alliance partners in developing intensive summer programs to inform, encourage and prepare Alliance students to pursue careers in the art world; served as a mentor and supporter to Alliance faculty members; recruited, selected and mentored Alliance students; assisted in developing grant proposals; created and facilitated an annual diversity workshop for all Alliance partners; aided in the development of promotional materials and provided website support.

Once the Alliance and its programming were firmly established in 2021, Dr. McFarlane stepped away from the Alliance and redirected her focus to independent scholarship. She was selected as a Senior Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2021-2022) and is continuing her research and her work as a higher education diversity programs and strategy consultant to date.