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Black Woman Who Helped Raise $150M to Preserve U.S. History Receives Prestigious Award in Rome, Italy

Monica Rhodes diaspora

Monica Rhodes has been awarded the Adele Chatfield-Taylor Rome Prize for historic preservation and conservation by the American Academy in Rome. Rhodes is one of just a few academically trained African American preservationists, with 15 years of expertise conserving the nation’s past, and was one of 37 Rome Prize winners chosen from nearly 1,000 applicants.

The American Academy in Rome has given the Rome Prize to creative and cross-disciplinary work in the arts and humanities for over 125 years. The prize is given to roughly 30 artists and scholars each year who reflect the highest level of quality and are in the early or middle stages of their careers.

She has raised and managed more than $150 million throughout her career, led preservation initiatives in 46 states, and completed projects in more than 100 national parks. Rhodes created the nation’s first program aimed at broadening the preservation trades and heritage business. Rhodes spearheaded efforts to re-establish significant national park preservation programs that teach tales about African American, Latinx, and women’s history.

“I am proud to be here, and I am ecstatic to have the chance to use my experience to help build the future of preservation.” “My work is rooted in the need to account for every part of American history, and this honor is a step toward ensuring that happens,” said Rhodes, 38.

Rhodes earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Tulsa and a Master of Arts in African American Studies from Temple University, where she also earned a second Master’s degree in Historic Preservation. She is currently a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University, where she is striving to bring preservation to new audiences.

Rhodes will begin receiving a stipend, workspace, and lodging and board at the Academy’s 11-acre campus on the Janiculum Hill in Rome, Italy, in September as a Rome Prize laureate.

“This year’s Rome Prize honorees and Italian Fellows represent the variety of the United States, and their initiatives expand on the Academy’s dedication to the global influence of the arts and humanities,” said Mark Robbins, American Academy in Rome President and CEO. “These fellowships are life-changing, and we’re excited to see how this experience is reflected in future work.”

To learn more about the American Academy in Rome, visit AARome.org

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