The process: curatorial statement

From the first time the idea of this exhibition came into thought to this weekend, I have been contemplating about the statement I wanted to make with this exhibition. Funny enough, even to this point it is difficult to really convey what the exhibition is about. It’s a multifaceted exhibition centered around the main theme of identity and how to navigate through it.

The idea of the exhibition came to thought while I was brainstorming a series of exhibitions to do produce for the following years to come to build on my career as a curator. Despite that I chose the wrong educational path for a curator, I still remember the advice one of my mentors gave me when I was interning at the Greenhill NC. Edie Carpenter had told me “If you want to start your career path as a curator, you’re going to have to put on shows.” As I was writing ideas down, I thought about my current position in life, the artists I have met and the inspiration I received from them. I thought of my difficulty finding a full-time position in the arts administration field and this growing anxiety of having to prove myself again while feeling like my proof should have been apparent. I thought of all the artists while writing ideas down and felt there was some familiar detail about them.

_______hood Took a year to plan, prepare, and produce. During the months as I was securing the location, preparing the marketing material, and talking to be artists about their work, I could not help but feel like I was getting closer to that familiar detail about them. It wasn’t until after I started installing the work in the gallery that it came to realization. Despite the amazing achievements these artists have made already, they are still considered “emerging “artists.

I’m surprised they are not in the same position as Jordan Castille Who is currently being exhibited throughout the East Coast and further during in shortly after her time in graduate school at Yale. The content of the work is drastically different, in my opinion, but their content’s qualities are close to the finest. In my mind, each of them are still trying to prove themselves repeatedly to “climb up the ladder” and closer to theor dream. It’s is this reason, I believe, as to why I started the brand in the first place. I wanted this brand to help artists by providing them a platform and resources from the administrative aspect to help them excell to their dreams which often is making our pursuing the ideas that inspire them.

Earlier, it made sense to use emerging artists with already profound ideas and have made a remarkable impact with their work already get into the community so they serve to further elevate the awareness of what they’re doing inspire others to support them. It just so happens that the themes in the content that inspires their creativity relates back to identity in some aspects. I wanted this exhibition to be an experience for people to reflect on the concept of rite of passage, and what it means to be the identities that we hold. This concept matter to me, and I think it matters to many others, because this is an open dialogue leading to answering the following question

Is my destiny truly in my own hands and at my own disposal, or is my fate already predetermined and I’m giving the illusion of choice?

If my destiny is based off my character and identity, and if I am capable of changing my identity, at what point does my density change and what defines that changing experience?

Is it my actions soly, or is it something more?

Each of these artists handle identity differently. Some explore, others question, others challenge and redifine the factors and circumstances that we allow to define us. In regards to my brand’s mission and vision, it is one of my objectives to inspire a community to take action inspired by art and the conversations they spark. My question is, how can we move forward as a community to better outcomes?

All of these things orbit my thoughts as I slwrite this official curator statement.

The Process – About the Funding

Like any creative production, the challenge is “how to fund it?”. From what I had mentioned before, typically exhibitions when done through a nonprofit organization are funded by grants in which the organization has applied for, in combination with other contributed revenue from a consistent donor base and from corporate sponsorship.

Each production can start differently, as some exhibitions were planned and organized by a donor or a collector and an organization has agreed to display said exhibition. Other organizations put on exhibitions in charge for admissions, although, many work to make the exhibition free so that people of all backgrounds are able to access the arts.

As I am getting closer to the deadlines of securing the work, paying for the tickets and the shipping rates, I am working diligently to crowd fun and build a consistent donor base so I am able to have these exhibitions without charging the public for the mission.

Considering my circumstances, I am on the fence about how to properly charge for this. JT our presents is currently a soul proprietor Brown’s that I intend on turning into a 501(c)(3) in the near future. I had much financial success when it was under a fiscal sponsorship, and am pursuing that now.

Earliar this weekend, I shared my position with a mentor who has a few connections and could help reduce the costs. In our conversation, he also brought up the concept of social capital. Overall, he believed that it was better to build a relationship with the individual and connect him or her to the resources they need to develop a loyal clients but will give you money consistently and with little question instead of simply charging them one time for something that they may or may not come back to you.

For me, this gave the concept of networking and marketing a more human identity. It is also something that I wish to incorporate into my brand. As I am searching for alternatives to put this exhibition into action, I’m also preparing to ask people in the community is what is it that they exactly want and what is it that they exactly need and from there continue the conversation regarding how these productions can still be accessible to the public and for all.

I wonder what are your thoughts:

  1. What Value do you get from the arts?
  2. When you pay for an admission ticket, what is ot rhat you expect to get?

The Process – Ideation of _______hood

When I began my journey to building my career, I had a difficult time finding “my place”. I simply wanted to male a living in the arts, but it was never clear to me howdiverse the creative field was until I went to A&T. While exploring my options, one consideration was being a curator so I can produce exhibitions. 

April (left), Edie, and Jim

During undergrad, I was already producing exhibitions for a variety of purposes. I had been involved in planning and putting on annual fall and spring student exhibitions  that our program sponsored. Eventually, I became an intern at Greenhill for the executive director of curatorial and creative programming. Eventually the director became a mentor and she began dating me on curating and maintaining the gallery and dealing with all the lid just sticks that comes with it. One of the biggest takeaways I had from her advice was “if you wants to start your career path is a curator, you need to start producing shows.” At the time, this went perfect with the advice my other mentor had given us during our classes, “if you want to be something, do the things that ‘something’ does. And you better be the best one there.” 

Keeping those advice with me, I continue producing exhibitions for the program and started planning personal ones to do once I was done with school. Before The end of my junior year, The director of the visualize the program, Roymieco Carter, had notice of my interest in putting on exhibitions and it suggested that I look into art administration. During and after my enrollment at SCAD, I begin planning and thinking of ideas for exhibitions to start producing once I was done with school. The very first one became organically made when I met local artists in Atlanta who were doing some really interesting work. I believed now was the best time to produce and build.

Since plans went through constant revisions for my final project, I decided to focus on one artist, so I can focus on the administrative aspect, and save my other ideas for later. However, this was when I began considering launching my brand with this production as the launching point. After I graduated, and still scurrying around for a spot to start my career, I started planning for the next exhibition.
Amongst the ideas I had written down, more on that later,  _______hood became more present in mind. Combining personal experience with an awareness of our social circumstances, I wanted the first exhibition to be used as an open forum for people to come together and share experiences. In the near future, I hope these exhibitions inspire audiences to take action to do better. 

Recalling all these experiences, I wanted an exhibition that reflected what I think is the biggest deal, Identity. Considering that a part of the political polarization between liberals and conservatives, as well as social issues with immigration and LGBT to name a few, is largely tied to individual values that are almost married to one’s identity. This particular exhibition matters as five emerging artist, who are going through their own rite of passage to be established, show work that relates to the process of developing, or changing, an identity. In being able to have control over your identity, you should be able to control your destiny. 

In all of this, I wonder:

  1. What defines you?
  2. What do you think defines masculinity and femininity?
  3. At what point do we achieve the identities we pursue? 

Please share your thoughts.