Leslie Guy, an arts consultant and curator of collections and exhibits for museums and private collectors in Philadelphia, was named Chief Curator at DuSable Museum of African American History.
“I’m delighted to welcome Leslie to the DuSable and to Chicago,” said Perri Irmer, DuSable Museum President and CEO. “Leslie’s dynamic and innovative approach to the arts is perfectly aligned with my forward-looking and collaborative vision for the DuSable. I am so delighted that she is part of our leadership team. She comes to DuSable with respect for this institution and what it means to the community and committed to advancing our mission. We’re looking forward to great things!”
Prior to joining the DuSable, Guy served as director of curatorial services for the African American Museum of Philadelphia. While there, she curated shows such as Badass Art Man, featuring the artwork and collection of Danny Simmons, brother of Russell Simmons and one of the most important collectors of African American art in the country; and the work of sculptor Syd Carpenter, which reflects African Americans’ historic relationship to the land, the disappearance of black family farms, and ways in which people are continuing the tradition of farming in the 21st century.
“DuSable has a really rich collection, and I’m looking forward to bringing those collections out of the storage areas and into the public view,” Guy said, adding she intends to have an active collection schedule. “There are some wonderful pieces; I was amazed. Everywhere I looked, there was something marvelous.”
In 1995, Guy became the first African American woman in the U.S. to earn a master’s in science degree in art conservation. She says she became interested in curation when she became aware of the politics involved in preservation. “I was troubled by the lack of African American representation in collections and the lack of resources dedicated to the preservation of African American artifacts,” she explains.
Guy earned her master’s from the University of Delaware and has spoken at museum and conservation conferences in Atlanta and Philadelphia.