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SARAH ANITA CLUNIS, Ph.D., Executive Director

Dr. Sarah Clunis is originally from Kingston, Jamaica and received her PhD in art history in 2006 from the University of Iowa. She came to the Amistad Center from her role as Director of Academic Partnerships and Curator of the African Collection  at the Peabody Museum of Archology and Ethnology at Harvard University in 2021, and from Louisiana's Xavier University where she was director of the Xavier University Art Gallery, supervisor of the Art Collection team, and assistant professor of art history. Dr. Clunis has taught art history for over twenty years at public universities and Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Dr. Clunis' research and classes have focused on the history of African art and the display of African objects in Western museum settings. She also studies the influence of African aesthetics and philosophy on the arts and religious rituals and cultural identities of the African diaspora. Her work examines gender, race, and migration in multiple contexts. She has published in both national and international magazines and journals. 

Sarah may be reached at 860-838-4089 or via email at

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Matthew  has a degree in Graphic Design from Mitchell College and earned both a degree in Art History from Connecticut College as well as a certification in Museum Studies. Previously Matthew was the Director of Operations for the Florence Griswold Museum where he had been employed for more than 19-years. During his tenure, while honing his non-profit leadership skills, he also served as ADA site-coordinator believing that everyone should have access to art and culture.  Matthew began his love of art and culture during his time as a Student Ambassador, representing the United States in many countries around the world. In his spare time, he tries to immerse himself in his community having served on various boards and being an active member of his local historical society.

Matthew may be reached at

BETHANI BLAKE, Programs Manager for the African Diaspora

Bethani is responsible for creating and delivering programs for all audiences in coordination with The Amistad Center for Art & Culture and the Wadsworth Atheneum. Her previous roles include positions at the Wexner Center for the Arts and the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing and Cultural Arts Complex in Columbus, Ohio. She has a BFA in Painting and Performing Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Bethani brings experience as a practicing artist and educator in museum spaces.

Bethani may be reached at 860-838-4094 or via email at

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GRACE CLARK, Marketing and Administrative Associate

As Marketing and Administrative Associate, Grace creates marketing communication strategies to promote The Amistad Center for Art & Culture and supports the work of the Board of Trustees. She brings extensive experience in communications and marketing in arts, education, social service organizations and entertainment arenas. Grace is also a broadcast and print journalist,  who has worked in media including FOX 61 news and The Hartford Courant, and has produced and hosted television and radio talk shows. In addition, she has  a broad background in theater performance.  She holds a BA in Mass Communications and Journalism from Central Connecticut State University.

Grace may be reached at 860-838-4068 or via email at

Photo by Lotta Studio, New Haven, CT

FRANK MITCHELL, Ph.D, Curator-at-Large

Frank Mitchell is a cultural organizer in visual arts and public humanities. He is The Amistad Center for Art & Culture’s Curator at Large and Curatorial Adviser for the Toni N. and Wendell C. Harp Historical Museum at New Haven’s Dixwell Q House. He is a consultant to SmokeSygnals, the region’s largest Indigenous-led exhibition design firm, on the forthcoming Mystic Seaport Museum exhibition Entwined: Freedom, Sovereignty, and the Sea.   

Frank’s curatorial projects include the exhibitions Timeless: Telling Our Neighborhood Stories—Chapter 1: Constance Baker Motley, Finding Freeman(s), The Nutmeg Pulpit: Hartford’s Talcott Street Church & Black Community Formation—and with The Amistad Center—Afrocosmologies: American Reflections, 40 Acres: The Promise of a Black Pastoral, Hairitage, and Soulfood: African American Cooking and Creativity. Publications include the catalog Afrocosmologies: American Reflections, the anthology African American Connecticut Explored, and the culinary study African American Food Culture.  He has taught at the University of Connecticut, Trinity College, the University of the Arts, and Franklin & Marshall College. 

Frank began work in museums as a programmer for The Anacostia Museum and The Studio Museum in Harlem. A graduate of The University of Michigan’s PhD program in American Culture, he has a Master of Arts degree in African-American Studies from Yale University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College. Mitchell serves as vice chair of the CTHumanities board, treasurer of the New England Foundation for the Arts board, and a member of the Elm Shakespeare Company and the Eli Whitney Museum boards. 

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