David C. Driskell Center

Edmund Barry Gaither


Since 1969, Edmund Barry Gaither has been director and curator of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists (NCAAA), and special consultant/adjunct curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. At the Museum of Fine Arts, he has curated more than eight shows, and for the NCAAA, he has developed its Museum from a concept to an institution with collections exceeding three thousand objects and a thirty year history of interesting exhibitions.

Gaither has held various academic positions, including Assistant Professor in Afro-American Studies at Boston University (1971-1983), Lecturer in Afro-American Studies at Harvard College (1972-1975); Lecturer in art history at Wellesley College (1971-1974); Lecturer at Massachusetts College of Art (1970-1971). He has served on the summer faculty of the Arts Leadership Institute, University of Minnesota (1989).

Within the museum field, Gaither has been very active. He served on the Commission of Museums for a New Century (American Association of Museums, 1984), Commission for Equity and Excellence (AAM), and more recently, Museums and Communities (AAM, 2000). He was cofounder and first president of the African American Museums Association (now the Association for African American Museums).

In the field of education, he has published and lectured widely. Additionally, he was a consultant to Urban Gateways: The Center for Arts Education, Chicago; and is presently consultant to Primary Source, a curriculum development organization based in greater Boston.

As a citizen, Gaither served on President George Bush's Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and on the Commission for the Roxbury State Heritage Park, Boston, MA. He also headed to National Committee which commissioned the bust for Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Capital Building in Washington, D.C. (1985-1986). From 1980-1983, Gaither was panel chairman for the Expansion Arts Division of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Gaither is widely traveled. Among places where he has worked or conducted research are: museum consultant, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; symposium presenter, Paris, France, 2000; researcher, Jamaica, West Indies, Ethiopia, Israel, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Federal Republic of Germany, Barbados, Haiti, Dakar, Senegal, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

Gaither has won many prizes and honors including: Commonwealth Award for Organizational Leadership, (highest award in the arts by the Massachusetts Cultural Council on behalf of the State), 1997; Mass Art Award, 1988, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston: Citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives for contribution in the arts, 1997; Fondo del Sol Visual Arts Center 20th Anniversary Award, Fondo del Sol, Washington, D.C., 1993; The J. Eugene Grigsby Award from the Committee on Minority Concerns, National Art Education Association, 1989; in Appreciation for Outstanding Contribution, Community Advisory Board, 1979-83; Men of Vision Award, Museum of Afro-American History, 1992; Archival Interview, Hatch Billops Collection, 1987; Unity Award. John D. O'Bryant African American Ins1itute. Nor1heastern University, Boston, 1998; Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Northeastern University, 1984.

Finally, Gaither is widely published in the field of African American Art History and African American Studies.