Curation

In 2019, I had the opportunity to step into the role of curator for Wilson’s Cooley Gallery. At the time, my experience with curation had been limited to working with live arts productions and festivals. I had not curated a visual exhibition at that point, but the practice fascinated me for its implications in both my practice-led and academic research and social activism, and the practice also provided an opportunity to serve Wilson College in a new way.

For the most part, people usually view curationism (the act of curating) as a purely academic pursuit. And, that is understandable. The kind of investigative work that curators often have to do, coupled with the kinds of writing that we do (in terms of writing catalogs or exhibition copy, etc.) is very academic in nature. The part of the work that the lay person often doesn’t see is the ways in which the curator utilizes their academic research to inform their artistic decisions. Those decisions range from thematic development for an exhibition; the selection of the artist or artists that will be featured; the selection of the works that will be exhibited; how the exhibition space will be utilized (including the pathways that viewers will walk through as they experience the exhibition), and the spatial relationships between objects in the room and where people might stand to examine any given single item in the collection or how they might view the entire collection, among other creative choices.

Those choices, together with the content, help determine the success or failure of an exhibition. In fact, I view my curatorial role as that of a storyteller. In particular, in the college setting, my responsibility as a storyteller is to facilitate dialogue. Often, though certainly not always, that responsibility may focus on helping the campus have difficult conversations. A prime example of that is the exhibition I curated for Tia Blassingame that opened just before the pandemic forced to close campus. Blassingame’s work as a printmaker, poet, and book artist for the exhibition focused on her experiences as a Black woman in America. The content addressed three categories: communal history, personal/private experiences, and contemporary stories of violence against Black people in America. I divided the gallery space into three distinct sections so that as one stood to explore the most personal of the objects in the exhibition, the attendee would find themselves looking across communal history, and being confronted with a reminder of the contemporary violence.

Recent Curated or Co-Curated Exhibitions

This .pdf is a catalog that I developed with my collaborators Kendra Tidd and Adam DelMarcelle for two back-to-back exhibitions in the Cooley Gallery in Spring 2022. [Clicking on the file below should open the catalog in the browser window. To download, click the button.]

Recent Curated or Co-Curated Exhibitions