Weatherspoon Art Museum welcomes Destiny Hemphill as Coordinating Curator of Community Engagement

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Weatherspoon Art Museum welcomes Destiny Hemphill as Coordinating Curator of Community Engagement
Hemphill comes to the Weatherspoon from North Carolina A&T State University, where she was an instructor of creative writing. Photo: Martin W. Kane, University Communications, 2021.

GREENSBORO, NC.- The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro announced the appointment of Destiny Hemphill as its coordinating curator of community engagement, a newly created position at the museum supported by a grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Hemphill comes to the Weatherspoon from North Carolina A&T State University, where she was an instructor of creative writing. While at NC A&T, she facilitated student encounters with creative texts, visual art, film, and music and helped students use art to build a critical lexicon that expanded their sense of what is possible in the world. A recent graduate of a research-intensive MFA program, Hemphill has rigorously investigated the sociohistorical conditions of art and its complicated existing narratives, and she has worked to recover subjugated narratives.

As coordinating curator of community engagement, Ms. Hemphill will help to spearhead the Weatherspoon’s grant-funded initiative Leading with Objects: Engaging the Community in Institutional Change, which is also supported by a recent grant to the Weatherspoon from The Henry Luce Foundation. This initiative will impact the museum’s practice and, by extension, its role within the community and will build upon the museum’s racial equity plan, Leading Together, as it guides the museum’s broader work on equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Juliette Bianco, the Anne and Ben Cone Memorial Endowed Director of the Weatherspoon Art Museum, says, “We are excited to welcome Destiny Hemphill to the Weatherspoon Art Museum in this new role. She brings knowledge, affinities, and experience that are strongly connected to the Weatherspoon’s focus on learning through engaging with art and one another. Her passion for collaboration and community makes her an ideal team member as we work to facilitate broader access to the museum’s American art collection through community-driven dialogue.”

About her new role at the Weatherspoon, Ms. Hemphill says, “I was drawn to this position because of an alignment in values. From participating in multimodal arts collectives to presenting my own poetry to my years of community organizing, I have intentionally structured my life around arts and community because I know them firsthand to be incredible sources of power and transformation.”

Hemphill is also a poet based in Durham, North Carolina. She is the author of the chapbook Oracle: A Cosmology (Honeysuckle Press, 2018), which was a finalist for Honeysuckle Press’s inaugural chapbook prize. In 2021 she served as a Pedagogy Lab fellow at the Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies. Hemphill was also a remote Poetry Coalition fellow (2020–2021) at Split This Rock in Washington, D.C.

Prior to her work at NC A&T, Hemphill was a featured reader for the North Carolina Book Festival, and her poem “how we got our blues-tongue” was included in Poetry Magazine in January 2020. She was an arts administration intern for Duke Performances and a teaching artist for BlackSpace Poetry Wokeshops in Durham, NC, and she was a 2017 Callaloo Fellow and a 2016 Amiri Baraka Scholar at Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program. Her work has also been featured in Narrative Northeast, The Wanderer, Winter Tangerine, Scalawag, and elsewhere.

Hemphill received her MFA in creative writing (poetry) from the University of South Carolina, Columbia (2020) and her BA in literature and African and African American studies from Duke University (2015). She was selected for the Grace Jordan Fellowship Program from the University of South Carolina, Columbia (2018–2020).

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