Joan Tisch Teaching Fellows

New York, NY
Whitney Museum

The Joan Tisch Teaching Fellows Program offers graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in art and art history the unique opportunity to work directly with the Whitney Museum's collection and audiences within a community of academic support. Participants in the program design specialized tours both in-gallery and virtual on the Whitney's collection and special exhibitions for Museum visitors, public program audiences, and senior audiences. Fellows meet for workshops for feedback and support on their scholarly work and for training in teaching, communication and presentation skills, and other professional development topics. More advanced Teaching Fellows also have the opportunity to develop topical talks and multi-session courses on their areas of specialization for special members groups and the public.

This selective program offers an invaluable opportunity for students to develop skills for public speaking without notes, communicating sophisticated ideas in a clear and organized fashion, and finding their own authentic voice. Alumni of the program, who have gone on to a range of prestigious positions in museums and academia, often reference how these skills benefited them throughout their careers. 

Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow Jason Vartikar leading a tour. Photograph by Filip Wolak



  • Candidates must be graduate students currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in art history or a related field, ideally finishing their coursework or working toward the completion of their dissertation.
  • Students specializing in areas covered by the Museum’s collection are given special consideration, but this is not a prerequisite for selection. We are seeking diverse perspectives on American art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including Latinx and American Indigenous perspectives.
  • We are especially looking for candidates who are able to offer tours in both Spanish and English, though this is not a requirement.
  • Fellowships are ideally for a period of three years, with a minimum commitment of two years. During this period, Fellows are expected to live in or near New York City and be available for working in person at the Museum leading tours and programs each week, though leaves of absence are available.


The Teaching Fellows Program offers a base pay of $500 per month to support the learning opportunities of the program, in addition to $150 per hour for private and specialized tours and $110 for public tours. Fellows also have the potential for further pay for multi-week courses, special programs, membership lectures, and other projects. Time commitment is 4-10 hours per week.

We are currently accepting applications for late summer or fall 2023.


Working at the Whitney was by far the most rewarding teaching experience I had up to that point (and maybe since!). I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of studying new material in preparation for a different show every few months, and I found the wonderful reception I received from the public extremely heartening. In fact, I often wished I had people following me around in my daily life more generally telling me what a great job I did! - Laura Auricchio, Dean, Fordham College at Lincoln Center and Professor of Art History, Fordham University

Being a Teaching Fellow was an ideal complement to writing a dissertation, as, even if you happen to be lucky enough to love to write (and to have found a topic capable of sustaining long-term interest), you only can sit and stare at a screen for so many hours a day. Maybe ironically, working at the Whitney actually helped me maintain a very productive schedule: I would write in the morning and give talks later in the day or evening—at which point it was nearly impossible to remain lucid and good humored about my own work. Knowing that I only had a certain amount of time devoted to my project each day made each day count, and I was more efficient than any of my peers, writing my dissertation in one year while working a tremendous number of hours. This proved viable because the tours were on shows that I found stimulating (many ideas from which made their way into my dissertation and other writing projects); likewise, the audiences were if not unilaterally then at least largely enthusiastic, giving me back as much energy as I put into my talks. - Suzanne Hudson, Professor of Art History and Fine Arts, University of Southern California

It took me a long time to realize that my commitments to making art history public (the work of a teaching fellow) and my commitments to scholarship (the work of an academic) could be combined in curatorial work. But now I am a curator and I always credit the foundation of the teaching fellowship, or rather the simultaneity of the Whitney and my grad school work as the twin aspects of what I do now. I loved being a teaching fellow. I discovered my gift for speaking to large groups of people about art and learned that the thing that people most want to see is your passion, your enthusiasm, your care. That remains a deeply important lesson for me. I'm so grateful for that work and love the Whitney forever for the opportunities it gave me. - Anna Katz, Curator at MOCA, Los Angeles


About the Whitney

The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by the artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, houses the foremost collection of American art from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. From her vision arose the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has been championing the most innovative art of the United States for eighty-six years. The core of the Whitney’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit American art of our time and serve a wide variety of audiences in celebration of the complexity and diversity of art and culture in the United States. Through this mission and a steadfast commitment to artists themselves, the Whitney has long been a powerful force in support of modern and contemporary art and continues to help define what is innovative and influential in American art today.

EEO Statement

The Whitney Museum of American Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Museum does not discriminate because of age, sex, religion, race, color, creed, national origin, alienage or citizenship, disability, marital status, partnership status, veteran status, gender (including gender identity), sexual orientation, or any other factor prohibited by law. The Museum hires and promotes individuals solely on the basis of their qualifications for the job to be filled. The Museum encourages all qualified candidates to apply for vacant positions at all levels. This description shall not be construed as a contract of any sort for a specific period of employment.   


The Joan Tisch Teaching Fellows Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art is supported by a generous gift from Steven Tisch.



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