2005-05-06 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance

How To Become A Curator
by Susan Hartenstein


“Connectiquit River,” by E. Elliott Killian.“Connectiquit River,” by E. Elliott Killian. OK, now that you know what a curator does (see last week’s column) the next question is, “How does he or she get that way”? In other words, what training, experience and academic credentials are necessary to become a curator?

The answer may vary.

Different curators have trod the path in different ways. There are now courses of study available at various colleges, universities and art institutions that are specifically designed to provide the academic and practical knowledge necessary to prepare for this career.

However, this is only one route taken by those presently working in the profession.

Before choosing a specific studies program or an art institution or venue at which to find training, it is advisable to volunteer or become an intern at a museum or gallery, perhaps one’s own college gallery, to get a sense of what museum work is like and a sense of what sort of curating and arts venue suits you, as outlined in last week’s column.

As surveyed by the College Art Association (CAA), curatorial positions can roughly be placed in three basic categories: curators in large museums who specialize in specific areas of expertise; curators of smaller city museums and university museums; curators of contemporary art at museums or galleries of contemporary art or alternative spaces.

According to the CAA, a Ph.D. in art history is usually required or preferred for those seeking positions at the first and second categories.

For curators of contemporary art, a master’s degree is needed as well as a knowledge of the current art scene, nationally and internationally. Any curatorial programs should also include the various aspects of planning, organizing and laying out an exhibition.

The importance of practical experience cannot be overemphasized. Internships are essential to the training of a curator, whether within a specific training program or achieved independently.

The next installment in this series will discuss a few specific training programs and survey the actual training, experience and advice of various professional curators, including independent curators.

Gallery Happenings:

Immersed in Watercolor: The Art of M. Elliott Killian at sTudio 6 Gallery, Fort Tilden is on view through May 8. The print raffle of “Riis Park Clock” continues until the winner’s ticket is picked on May 8 at 2 p.m. in sTudio 6. Admission is free. Gallery hours: Saturdays 12-5 p.m.; Sundays 1-4 p.m.

A Mixable Feast, Geoff Rawling’s solo exhibition featuring A Month of Sundays of delicious events continues through Sunday, May 29.

Take your Mom to Mother Hubbard’s Brunch, a Mother’s Day celebration of art eternal with “cupboard cuisine” and music maternal. 12 Noon start at sTudio 7.

Sunday, May 15: Naked Lunch, a revealing blend of undressed creativity, “nude food” and bare bones music from the Bayou Blues Band. 1 p.m. start. Gallery hours: see above.

Jessica Schulman’s solo show, Digital Derivations: A Different Kind of Photography, is on display May 7 and May 8 at Salt Marsh Nature Center, 3302 Avenue U, Brooklyn.

The opening reception is Saturday, May 7, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is “clean-up and paint day” at sTudio 6.

Help make our gallery sparkle. Come in work clothes.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to Karen McCallion, Tara Scannell, Mary and to all the family and friends of Joseph McCallion, who died on May 1. We love you.

To Geoff and Louanne – we will all miss our little friend, Frieda.

Peace.

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