Special Edition April 2015

Dr. Kara Tucina Olidge Appointed Executive Director

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University and the Center's staff, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Kara Tucina Olidge, Ph.D. to the position of Executive Director of the Center, effective May 1, 2015.


Dr. Olidge is a scholar, arts, and educational administrator and the former Deputy Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a branch of the New York Public Library based in Harlem. Prior to joining the Schomburg in 2012, she served as the Director of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a nonprofit organization serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in Newark, New Jersey. Her scholarly work focuses on the intersection of art, critical cosmopolitanism, and community activism. Dr. Olidge has curated art exhibits for emerging artists of color and given lectures on the intersection of arts and activism and arts-centered literacy.


Born in New Orleans, Dr. Olidge completed her education studies with a regent's diploma from John McDonogh #35 and received the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation I Have a Dream Scholarship. She graduated from Spelman College in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in Philosophy with a minor in Art History. During her time in Atlanta, she began her educational work as a library principal assistant in Atlanta, Georgia at the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System where she assisted the community in enhancing literacy skills.


Dr. Olidge received a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from the University of New Orleans in 2000 and received the Marcus B. Christian Graduate Scholarship.  Her thesis, Stella Jones Gallery: Organizational Analysis and Suggested Marketing Plan analyzed the organizational structure and cultures of Stella Jones Gallery as it related to her internship as Managing Director and where she also developed a marketing plan to support, expose, and expand the mission of the organization. During her time in graduate school, she became involved in the arts community in New Orleans, including becoming the Director of Education for the Shakespeare Festival at Tulane University and the Visual Arts Curator at the Amistad Research Center.


In 2000, Dr. Olidge was one of four emerging arts administrators selected for the National Arts Administration Mentorship Program where Edmund Cardoni, Executive Director of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center mentored her. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy at The State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo) in 2010 where she was awarded the Mark Diamond Research Grant for her doctoral work. Her dissertation, Critical Cosmopolitanism and the Intellectual Work of Alain Locke explored how Alain Locke's educational experiences and sexuality influenced his deployment of critical cosmopolitanism in his work as a Negro educator and cultural activist.  


While working on her Ph.D. at SUNY Buffalo, she served as the Program Director of Community and College Connections at the Educational Opportunity Center, Senior Program Officer of Good Schools for All at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, and the Legacy for Tomorrow Program Director at the Arts Council in Buffalo & Erie County.


Olidge worked on the Queer Newark Oral History Project Committee with co-chair, Darnell L. Moore. She also served as a member of the Essex County Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Advisory Board, the first county-level board of its kind in New Jersey, and the finance chair of the Newark-Essex Pride Coalition.  She was recently appointed a board member of CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies, a nonprofit organization under the City University of New York. She was previously the Board Development Committee Chair and the Planning Committee Co-Chair at the Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center between 2008-2010.


About the Amistad Research Center

The Amistad Research Center is committed to collecting, preserving, and providing open access to original materials that reference the social and cultural importance of America's ethnic and racial history, the African Diaspora, human relations, and civil rights.  Amistad's holds 800 manuscript collections which include over ten million documents from the 1780s to present, 250,000 original photographs dating from 1859, 1200 audiovisual recordings, 40,000 book titles, 2000 periodicals titles, and 600 works of fine art dating from the 19th century from such luminaries as Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, William H. Johnson, Edward Bannister, and others. 


The Board was assisted in this national search by the Hawkins Company of Los Angeles. The search committee was chaired by Board member Mrs. Sybil Morial.


Kim Boyle, President of the Board of Directors

The Amistad Research Center at Tulane University

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