Teenie Harris Archivist Appointed


May 12, 2016

Contact: Jonathan Gaugler | gauglerj@cmoa.org | 412.688.8690 / 412.216.7909

Teenie Harris Archivist Appointed
Dominique Luster joins CMOA as first archivist to hold endowed position

Dominique Luster, Teenie Harris Archivist, Photo: Bryan Conley, Carnegie Museum of Art

Dominique Luster, Teenie Harris Archivist, Photo: Bryan Conley, Carnegie Museum of Art

Pittsburgh, PA…Carnegie Museum of Art announces the appointment of Dominique Luster to the newly created position of Teenie Harris Archivist. Working with CMOA curatorial and education staff, Luster will manage and oversee the research, digitization, publication, and exhibition of the more than 70,000 images shot by Charles “Teenie” Harris from the 1930s to 1970s.

Luster studied Theatre Design and Technology at the University of Kentucky before moving to Pittsburgh to pursue her MLIS in Archives and Information Management at the University of Pittsburgh. “I was well aware of Teenie Harris as this legendary figure, a great photographer of the 20th-century black experience,” she said. “Moving to Pittsburgh, I saw a whole new dimension of Teenie, as a member of his community. Someone people remember, whose photographs they cherish.” Currently, she is Liaison Librarian for University of Pittsburgh Library System.

The central objective of this position is to increase and improve discoverability and accessibility of Harris’s work. Luster envisions international reach and programming for the Teenie Harris Archive. She plans to improve image metadata to assist in searches and develop a finding aid for the entire collection to aid researchers worldwide. “The Archive needs greater online access, and I will work to ensure that the full extent of its resources are made available online in a more searchable, structured format.” Other tasks ahead include working with the Harris negatives that have yet to be scanned and published online. Numbering over 10,000 images, they span the ’60s and ’70s, and include color images.

Dominique Luster, Teenie Harris Archivist, Photo: Bryan Conley, Carnegie Museum of Art

Dominique Luster, Teenie Harris Archivist, Photo: Bryan Conley, Carnegie Museum of Art

“As steward of the Teenie Harris Archive, the museum has an ongoing responsibility to research Harris’s unique and rich body of work, and make it available to scholars and a broad public. Luster’s position insures that this important work will continue” said Lynn Zelevansky, The Henry J. Heinz II Director of CMOA. “A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and support from the foundations and individuals who matched it, made her position possible, and we are extremely grateful.”

Curator Louise Lippincott, who brought the Teenie Harris Archive to the museum’s collection, said “Dominique will carry on the great work of Kerin Shellenbarger and so many others who have created this powerful archive of images and memories. I am delighted that we have been able to create a permanent, fully endowed position that guarantees the future of Teenie Harris’s art.”

Charles “Teenie” Harris produced more than 70,000 images of Pittsburgh’s African American community as a photographer for the influential Pittsburgh Courier and as a freelancer. The photographs, taken from the 1930s to the 1970s, capture a period of momentous change for black Americans, and depict a black urban community that, in spite of segregationist policies and attitudes of midcentury America, was innovative, thriving, and proud. The museum acquired these negatives in 2001 from the Harris estate, and established the Teenie Harris Archive soon afterward.

The Teenie Harris Archivist position is endowed, made possible by an ambitious, $300,000 challenge grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the foundations and individuals who matched it.

Generous institutional support was provided by:
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The Heinz Endowments
New Monuments Golf Club
Massey Charitable Trust
PNC Foundation

An exceptionally dedicated group of individuals also lent their support to this project:

Margot M. Flood
Richard V. Gambrell
Nancy and Milton Washington
Donna Hollen-Bolmgren Bequest
Judith and Ron Davenport
Cecile M. and Eric Springer
Charles Harris
Clyde B. Jones III

Luster joins CMOA on May 16, 2016.

General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Carnegie Museum of Art

Carnegie Museum of Art enriches people’s lives through art. The museum is committed to global engagement and regional advancement. We champion creativity and its importance to society with experiences that welcome, inspire, challenge, and inform. Our core activities—collecting, conserving, presenting, and interpreting works of art—make those experiences possible. Our world-class collection of over 30,000 works emphasizes art, architecture, photography, and design from the 19th century to the present. Charles “Teenie” Harris (1908–1998) photographed Pittsburgh’s African American community from the 1930s to 1970s. The Teenie Harris Archive of more than 70,000 images is one of the most detailed and intimate records of the black urban experience known today. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. Learn more: call 412.622.3131 or visit cmoa.org.

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