A Black woman has been awarded in Rome after helping to raise $150 million to preserve U.S. history. Monica Rhodes was awarded the Adele Chatfield-Taylor Rome Prize in historic preservation and conservation by the American Academy in Rome. The Academy supports innovative artists, writers and scholars.
Its Rome Prize has for more than a century supported innovative and cross-disciplinary work in the arts and humanities, it says on its website.
Rhodes is a trained African-American preservationist, with 15 years of experience protecting America’s history. Of the nearly 1,000 applications the Rome Prize competition received, she was among the 37 Rome Prize winners, according to Black News.
“I am honored to be here and thrilled to get the opportunity to leverage this experience to help shape the future of preservation. My work is grounded in the pursuit to ensure every aspect of American history is accounted for, and this honor is a stepping stone to making sure that happens,” Rhodes, 38, said, according to Black News.
Rhodes will receive a workspace, a stipend, and room and board at the Academy’s campus on the Janiculum Hill in Rome, Italy, as a Rome Prize winner. Each year, the prize is awarded to about thirty artists and scholars who represent the highest standard of excellence and who are in the early or middle stages of their careers, the Academy said.
“This year’s Rome Prize winners and Italian Fellows represent the diversity of the United States, and their projects build on the Academy’s commitment to the global impact of the arts and humanities,” said Mark Robbins, American Academy in Rome President and CEO. “These fellowships are transformative, and we look forward to seeing the ways this experience is translated in the work to come.”
Rhodes has helped raise and manage over $150 million, which has been directed at preservation activities in 46 states. So far, she has completed projects in over 100 national parks.
She is credited with developing the first national program focused on diversifying the preservation trades and the heritage industry, as stated by Black News. Meanwhile, she has also led efforts to preserve national parks that tell stories about African American, LatinX, and Women’s history, the outlet added.
Rhodes has a degree in History from the University of Tulsa and a Master’s degree in African American Studies from Temple University. She also has a second Master’s degree in Historic Preservation.
She is also a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University where she is helping to expand the field of preservation.