Diggs Gallery Director Accepted Into Prestigious Art Museum Association

Belinda Tate
Belinda Tate
July 16, 2012

Belinda Tate, director of the Diggs Gallery at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), has been accepted as a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD).

The Association represents 214 art museum directors in the United States, Canada and Mexico.  Membership is based on qualifications of both the individual director and the standards of operation of the art museum he or she directs.

“The AAMD is perhaps the most prestigious professional organization in my field and I am truly honored by the confidence placed in me by my peers,” said Tate.  “The membership is also a recognition of the work being done at Diggs Gallery to be a cultural meeting place where we can celebrate the heritage of our broader community and also provide exhibit space dedicated to the art of Africa and the African Diaspora.”

As director of the Diggs Gallery for 13 years, Tate has been the curator for over 50 exhibitions of African and African American art.  Her work has been recognized by national publications such as the “International Review of African American Art” and New York’s “Valentine Magazine of African American Art, which ranked Diggs as one of the top 10 centers for African American art in the United States in 2007.

Tate has brought a variety of exhibits to the gallery that received significant regional acclaim including “Ascension: Works by African American Artists of North Carolina,” “Ascension II: A Legacy of Self-Taught African American Artists of North Carolina” and “Not an Ocean Between Us: Voices of Women from Africa and the African Diaspora.” Most recently, the gallery hosted “READY, AIM . . . LOOK!,” a collaboration of the Center for Design Innovation, Old Salem Museum and Gardens, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Wake Forest University and WSSU that used art and technology to express time and motion, while providing education and inspiration based on the community’s cultural heritage.  Diggs Gallery has also exhibited WSSU senior art majors’ projects and a show to celebrate the Happy Hill Garden community called “Pride and Dignity from the Hill.”

During Tate’s tenure, Diggs Gallery has received more than $1 million in grants, contributions and donations of art. Its permanent collection has been expanded by nearly 20 percent, including new works by John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Al Loving, Ed Clark, Howardena Pindell, Charles Searles, Herbert Gentry, Hank Willis Thomas and Willie Birch in addition to traditional African art.  Following the “Young Americans” exhibition of that dynamic series of photographs, Tate secured a collection of 19 of the works of photographer Sheila Pree Bright which has increased the university’s collection of contemporary work.

In addition to her work at Diggs Gallery, Tate has served as a guest speaker at many institutions including Reynolda House Museum of American Art, the Weatherspoon Art Gallery at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and the Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum.  Her personal passion, however, lies with mentoring young artists and giving them a start in the industry as illustrated by her recent symposium entitled “Young Artists Speak!”

Tate also has been actively involved with a variety of organizations including serving on committees and boards for the N.C. Museum of Art’s African American Art Re-Installation, the North Carolina Freedom Monument, Reynolda House Museum, Piedmont Craftsmen, Piedmont Triad Partnership Creative Cluster, Preserve Historic Forsyth, Winston-Salem Delta Fine Arts, The Echo Council, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, YMCA and the Sawtooth Center for visual Arts.

A native of Winston-Salem, Tate graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and Wake Forest University. She majored in museum studies at Yale University and interned with the Yale Center for British Art and the State Department’s Art in Embassies program.  Tate served as a Fulbright-Hayes Fellow to evaluate public education in South African 10 years after the end of apartheid.  She has continued her studies during travels in African and Europe.

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