Souls Grown Deep Foundation Staff

Maxwell L. Anderson

President

CJ Benton

Manager of Development

Scott Browning

Director of Collections

Raina A. Lampkins-Fielder

Curator

Emma Yau

Curatorial Assistant

Board of Directors

Maxwell L. Anderson

Max Anderson has devoted his career to advancing the mission of non-profit cultural institutions while creating best practices to ensure their development and sustainability. He has long sought to address challenges facing the cultural sector, from community engagement to programmatic relevance, transparent business practices, cultural property ownership disputes, operational efficiency, and the impact of digital platforms on communications. Served as a museum director for almost thirty years in Atlanta, Toronto, New York City, Indianapolis, and Dallas.

Sanford Biggers

Sanford Biggers’ work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art among others. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, and the Rome Prize in Visual Arts. He is the 2021-2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor and Scholar in the MIT Department of Architecture.

Diedrick Brackens

Diedrick Brackens is best known for his woven tapestries that explore allegory and narrative through the artist’s autobiography, broader themes of African American and queer identity, as well as American history. Brackens employs techniques from West African weaving, quilting from the American South and European tapestry-making to create both abstract and figurative works.

Jane Fonda

Award-winning actress, author, and political activist. She has won two Academy Awards, an Emmy Award and seven Golden Globe Awards (including 3 special awards) among many other accolades. Her books include Prime Time: Creating a Great Third ACT and My Life So Far. In 2000 she partnered with William Arnett to form Tinwood Books, publisher of seminal volumes on African American Art of the South including Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art and The Quilts of Gee's Bend.

Linley Jones

Linley Jones is a Board-Certified Professional Liability and Ethics LawyerShe is former President of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and is a member of the Atlanta Trial Lawyers Society, Atlanta Bar Association, Lawyers Club of Atlanta, and the American Association for Justice.

Valerie Cassel Oliver

Valerie Cassel Oliver is the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She has served as the Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Director of the Visiting Artists Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Program Specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2011, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta presented Cassel Oliver with the David C. Driskell Prize, named for the renowned African-American artist and art scholar.

Mary Margaret Pettway

Board Chair

Born and raised in Gee’s Bend (Boykin), Alabama, Mary Margaret Pettway is a fourth-generation quilter, and daughter of Lucy T. Pettway. She is a member of the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective, founded in 2003 to promote and market quilts from the community of Gee’s Bend. She has taught quilting workshops throughout the southeast, and is a regular instructor at Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center in Camden, Alabama. In 2018 she was named an Alabama Humanities Fellow by the Alabama Humanities Foundation.

Michael Sellman

Associate editor of Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art, vol. II, The Quilts of Gee’s Bend, and Gee’s Bend: The Women and Their Quilts, Michael Sellman is co-Chief Executive Officer of Calatrava Grace Corporation, a real estate advisory, co-development, and investment company. He worked previously at Morgan Stanley in New York and London.

Jacquelyn Serwer

Former Chief Curator of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.. Her research specialties include American art and African American art, 19th century to the present, and museum studies. Previously she served for six years as chief curator of the Corcoran Gallery of Art where she coordinated all museum activities.

Amy Sherald

Amy Sherald documents contemporary African American experience in the United States through arresting, otherworldly figurative paintings. Sherald was the first woman and first African American to ever receive the grand prize in the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.; she also received the 2017 Anonymous Was A Woman award and the 2019 Smithsonian Ingenuity Award. In 2018, Sherald was selected by first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait as an official commission for the National Portrait Gallery. 

Franklin Sirmans

Franklin Sirmans is the director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Prior to taking his position at PAMM, Sirmans was Terri and Michael Smooke Department Head and Curator of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. He has mounted exhibitions as an independent curator at museums in Europe, Asia and the U.S., including the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Comune di Milano in Italy and the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich.

Lola C. West

Lola C. West​ is a co-founder with Ian Fuller of WestFuller Advisors, a boutique wealth management firm in New York City. She served the board of directors of Jazz at Lincoln Center for 6 years, and presently serves on the boards of The New York Women's Foundation, the Donors of Color Network, True North Media, Inc. and The Three R's. She is also member of the nominating committee for the Four Freedoms Award by Roosevelt Institute.