Camille Giraud Akeju
Director, Anacostia Community Museum
Camille Giraud Akeju is director of the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum since December 2005. As director, she is responsible for advancing the museum's mission to document, preserve and interpret African American culture and history from a community perspective.
Before coming to the Smithsonian, Akeju, 55, served since 1999 as president and CEO at The Harlem School of the Arts, where she was responsible for administration, programming, fundraising and community relations. Since 1964, The Harlem School of the Arts has provided beginning to advanced instruction in dance, music, theater and the visual arts from preschool students to young adults.
From 1998 to 1999, she worked at The Valley Inc. in New York City as chief operating officer, where she oversaw all issues and activities relating to personnel and contract and funding requirements. The Valley Inc., based in central Harlem, is a youth services organization, offering employment services for jobs and internships; dropout-prevention programs and afterschool activities; and leadership development.
From 1991 to 1998, Akeju worked as executive director at Mind-Builders Creative Arts Co. Inc. in Bronx, N.Y., forging new program partnerships with such organizations as the Museum of Modern Art; instituting new policies and procedures to strengthen the organization's infrastructure; expanding community outreach with an in-school arts-access lecture and artists residencies series; and forming effective volunteer networks to support the needs of the organization.
As curator and collections manager at the New York Transit Museum from 1986 to 1991, she established a fine arts gallery within the museum to highlight the work of established and emerging artists who use mass transit as a theme in their artworks; mounted the museum's first major interpretive exhibition; participated in the museum's major fundraising campaign and assisted in coordinating the NYC Transit Authority’s first auction of mass transit memorabilia.
Akeju has served as a peer reviewer with the Multicultural Arts Initiative in Pittsburgh and as a member of the board of directors and site/program evaluator for the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts. She also is a judge for the NAACP’s ACT-SO Fine Arts Competition in Westchester County, New York.
She received the Crowned Jewel Award for Women in Leadership (2003) from C. Ottley Strategies Inc., New York City, and the Recognition of Service to Youth Award from Open Eyes Productions Inc. (1996).
Akeju earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, with a concentration in printmaking and secondary art education, in 1974, and a master's degree in art history, with a concentration in African American art in 1981 from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Akeju was born in the Bronx and grew up in Mount Vernon, N.Y. She has two grown children.
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