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Building Bridges to Boost the Arts and Humanities


Johns Hopkins University has been awarded three grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation—totaling $2.5 million—to create a new interdisciplinary program in music between the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Peabody Institute, to expand arts programming, and to support postdoctoral fellows in the humanities.

A grant for $1.2 million will be used to engage bridge professors—jointly appointed by the Krieger School and Peabody—who will, in time, form the core of a faculty embedded in humanities and social science departments, with interests in aspects of music. These scholars will create a new music major that will capitalize on the rich resources in performance, music theory, and musicology at Peabody and in the historical, cultural, and scientific study of music at the Krieger School. One of the nation’s oldest and most highly regarded music conservatories, the Peabody Institute became affiliated with Johns Hopkins in 1977.

“We are so grateful to the Mellon Foundation for this generous grant,” said Katherine S. Newman, the James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School. “I’m eager to see a music major in place. The creation of this new undergraduate degree program is contingent on the Krieger School building a faculty that is sufficient to the task of partnering with colleagues at Peabody to develop a distinctive, robust curriculum. The Mellon grant allows us to do just that.”

Peabody Director Jeffrey Sharkey said, “I am delighted that this generous award from Mellon will provide a platform for deeper engagement between the Peabody and Homewood campuses. It will allow us to create an academic music degree to serve a wider population of students and add another strong arts subject to the undergraduate curriculum.”

A portion of that grant will be also be used to create an Arts Innovation Fund this fall to support visiting artists-in-residence, new courses, student research, and artistic collaborations among the film, drama, Writing Seminars, and visual arts programs. Both faculty and students will be eligible to submit proposals for projects that promote inter-institutional, cross-disciplinary collaboration and research.

A second grant of $500,000 will support the Krieger School’s fast-growing Program in Museums and Society by creating an assistant director position and expanding its museum partnerships. This renewed support from Mellon will enable the creation of new and more multi-faceted initiatives that will build on relationships with Baltimore and Washington, D.C., museums. Future projects will focus on heritage landscapes, contemporary art, and living collections such as zoos and aquariums.

“Our students are eager to be engaged in more museum-related experiences,” says Elizabeth Rodini, director of the Program in Museums and Society. “The renewal of the Mellon sponsorship will enable us to develop new and more complex collaborations with local museums and cultural institutions. We look forward to drawing in new faculty partners, working more closely with graduate students, and connecting the work of our program to a range of research and exhibition activities.”

A third grant of $800,000 provides renewed support for the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Guided by the theme “The Religious Cultures of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and the Arts,” the program will recruit six postdoctoral fellows over the course of four years, whose work addresses the conceptual, philosophical, aesthetic, and practical aspects of artistic endeavor in relation to underlying religious cultures.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports five core program areas: higher education and scholarship, scholarly communications and information technology, museums and art conservation, performing arts, and conservation and the environment.