Melanie A. Townsend Scholarship for Museum Studies

$8,320 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 53 people in 13 days
Created January 9, 2019
The Melanie A. Townsend Scholarship for Museum and Curatorial Studies, is designed to assist students who demonstrate exceptional dedication to the fields of curation, museum studies and museology. This program would be administered and facilitated by Museum London with the aim of providing students with hands-on practice-based experience.


Melanie Townsend was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario. She attended Kennedy Collegiate Secondary School and earned an Honours Bachelor degree from Western University in 1991. This was followed by a Master’s degree, in history, from the University of Windsor in 1994. During her undergraduate studies, while working as a collections assistant with Windsor’s Community Museum, Townsend was captivated by the creativity of the museum and gallery world. Five years later, she began her career in the visual arts, working at the Art Gallery of Windsor as its Curatorial Assistant/Coordinator. Because she grew up in the industrial community of Windsor, Townsend was sometimes known as the “Blue Collar Curator.”
From 1998 to 2004, Townsend worked as Curator of the Walter Phillips Gallery in Banff where she established lifelong friendships with many in the national and international arts community, and helped establish the Banff International Curatorial Institute. During these years she also made an important contribution to the Calgary artist-run centre TRUCK, serving on its board, including as President. In later years, Townsend went on to provide generous support to the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, serving as its Secretary, Vice President, and President between 2010 and 2016.

In July 2004, Townsend returned to Southwestern Ontario, taking on the role of Curator ofContemporary Art at Museum London. One year later, she was elevated to its Head of Exhibitions and Collections. In this capacity, Townsend made innumerable contributions to the institution, and to the broader state of contemporary and historical Canadian art. She nurtured important subjects in Canadian culture through her writing, exhibitions, catalogues, and other projects. She supported hundreds of artists, and mentored many professionals in the field of curation, including her colleagues, emerging professionals, and university students.

Townsend’s peers in the gallery world, and her friends across the country, will always remember Melanie for her insightful and original curatorial work, and her deliciously dry sense of humour. She was an industrious, down-to earth, and inventive individual who developed popular and critically-acclaimed programs. A selection of her major exhibitions and/or publications include: Beyond the Box: Diverging Curatorial Practices (Banff Centre Press, 2003); Garry Neill Kennedy: Superstar Shadow (2006); Wyn Geleynse: A Man Trying to Explain Pictures (2006); Gardens of a Colonial Present: Ron Benner (2008); Jamelie Hassan: At the Far Edge of Words (2009); Kim Adams: One for the Road (2013); Kim Ondaatje (2013); and Colette Urban: Incognito (2014). Exhibitions and catalogues developed or supported by Townsend won several OAAG Awards, including Exhibition of the Year prizes, in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2015. These endeavours celebrated and documented new research on the work of Jamelie Hassan, Jack Chambers, Jane Buyers, James Lahey, and many others.
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$8,320 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 53 people in 13 days
Created January 9, 2019
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DF
$100
Deborah Fox
9 hours ago
LB
$200
Leslie Putnam David Bobier
1 day ago
$50
Anonymous
1 day ago
KM
$300
Kim Moodie
2 days ago
$1,000
Anonymous
2 days ago
TB
$250
Tobi Bruce
4 days ago
TM
$20
Tara MacDougall
4 days ago
$300
Sammy & Susan Hassan
4 days ago
SE
$100
Susan Edelstein
5 days ago
JA
$100
Janice Andreae
5 days ago
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