Camille Giraud Akeju


Camille Giraud Akeju served as the director of Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum from October 2005 through June 2016. She came to the Smithsonian with more than 25 years of leadership experience in a variety of nonprofit organizations. She has lead the museum in developing a revised mission—broadening its scope from its specifically afro-centric to one that addresses the impact of historical and contemporary events and issues on urban communities locally, nationally and throughout the world.

Before this appointment, Akeju had been the president and CEO of the Harlem School of the Arts in New York City since 1999. She was responsible for administration, programming, fundraising and community relations at the school, which provides beginning to advanced instruction in dance, music, theater and the visual arts for students from pre-school to adult.

From 1991 to1998, Akeju was the executive director of Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center in the Bronx, N.Y., forging a program partnership with the Museum of Modern Art and expanding community outreach with an after-school Literacy Through the Arts program.

As curator and collections manager at the New York Transit Museum from 1986 to 1991, she established a gallery within the museum to highlight artwork of artists who depicted transit themes. For six years before the Transit Museum, Akeju was the executive director of the Association of Community-Based Artist of Westchester, a non-profit art gallery and performance center showcasing works of emerging and established minority artists.
Akeju served as a peer reviewer with the Multicultural Arts Initiative of the Heinz Foundation in Pittsburgh, a funding review panelist for the New York and New Jersey State Councils on the Arts, the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Initiative and the Institute of Museum Services. She served on the board of the National Guild of Community Schools for the Art for six years.

Akeju is a graduate of Howard University, where she earned a BFA in secondary art education in 1974, and a MA in art history in 1981. She received a post-graduate certificate in Not-for-Profit Management from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University in 1997 and completed the JP Getty Leadership Institute, Museum Leadership program in 2007.