Byline: Denise Barnes, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
This series features the words and works of good people in our community. Their voices are seldom heard in the torrent of sensational news, their successes are seldom noticed publicly, but they contribute mightily to our quality of life. We present this forum at least twice a month to recognize and support their good deeds.
Staff writer Denise Barnes interviewed Marta Reid Stewart, director of the museum studies department at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
Q: I understand Duke Ellington School of the Arts has the only museum studies department on the high school level in the country. How did the program come about?
A: In the early 1990s arts activist and co-founder of Duke Ellington Peggy Cooper Cafritz served as co-chairman of the Smithsonian Institution's Cultural Equity Committee. Mrs. Cafritz noticed a lack of diversity in the institution's ranks. And, while it was true of the Smithsonian's 6,000 employees - roughly 32 percent were African Amerrican, 3 percent Latino, 3 percent Asian and 1 percent American Indian - minorities comprised a low percentage of the institutions' curators, designers, educators and directors.
The Smithsonian's human resource department determined there were not enough people of color applying for these positions. So, Mrs. Cafritz came up with the idea to include a museum studies program at Ellington to help increase the opportunities for minorities to become key players in the museum field.
Q: Washington, …