Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

Dynamic Art Museums in Small Cities

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, August 29. 2007 • Category: Announcements
The document below, being circulated by the Kamloops Art Gallery in Canada, poses some incisive questions that many cultural institutions, not just museums in small cities, are facing. Input from curators on some of these issues would greatly benefit this study. Full text follows:

Dynamic Art Museums in Small Cities
The Board of Trustees of the Kamloops Art Gallery, a not-for-profit art museum located in the interior of British Columbia in western Canada, met recently to consider its future and to address our considerable responsibilities to various communities.

The Board hopes to develop a new paradigm, an ideal model that emphasizes the compatibility of popular success, scholarship and museological responsibilities that can be used to benchmark our future outcomes and achievements. It also intends to look at the vital and critical role of the "small city gallery" within the global environment.

To these ends, our Trustees would like to know about art galleries in similar small communities with a population between 50,000 and 150,000. It is inviting museum professionals and scholars to define what constitutes a successful small city art museum. How, for example, are historical/traditional and contemporary art programming integrated? What are the inherent responsibilities that come with being recognized as a rigorous institution committed to research and scholarship? What is the potential of small art museums as learning hubs, especially given the opportunities available through the use of new technologies? And lastly, the Board is trying to determine how art museums make a difference in their own immediate and diverse communities and how success is defined in these terms.

The first part of this multi-faceted project is to compile a list of small-city art galleries world-wide that are recognized as leaders in their field. The next step is to refine this list and prepare case studies of 20 to 25 of these institutions for inclusion in a publication about the challenges and possibilities facing the small city gallery. We would appreciate receiving your opinion on the most outstanding galleries based on the objectives of the study outlined in this email. Please forward them to jlmb @

We would also appreciate if you would take the time to forward this inquiry to your email list of colleagues in order to expand the search for outstanding art galleries in small cities. Please include your full name, title and work affiliation for reference and follow-up.

Thank you for your time.
Jann LM Bailey
Executive Director, Kamloops Art Gallery
101-465 Victoria Street, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada V2C 2A9
t 250 3772412 / f 250 828 0662

[Via Christine Castle, on behalf of Jann Bailey. Please respond to her directly at jlmb @ Anything posted in the comments will also be forwarded to Jann.]
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Job: Senior Curator at CCAN

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, August 27. 2007 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
The forthcoming Centre for Contemporary Art Nottingham (CCAN) is looking to appoint a Senior Curator with excellent creative and organisational abilities. He or she will work closely with the Director, Alex Farquharson, to develop an ambitious, innovative and diverse programme of exhibitions and other events in a new landmark building of around 3000 square metres, in the middle of Nottingham, designed by Caruso St John. He or she will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the exhibitions team.

The individual we are looking for will have excellent international knowledge of recent contemporary art; experience of devising and managing international exhibitions of both loaned and commissioned work; a proven ability to raise funds for projects; excellent written and oral communications skills; and an interest in art's social, political and cultural contexts and frameworks. S/he will have an enthusiasm for teamwork and collaboration and a commitment to engaging creatively with diverse publics.

CCAN will be the East Midland's flagship contemporary art venue. Starting this autumn, we are preparing an imaginative programme of off-site artistic and education events in anticipation of our opening in late 2008. Salary range: £28,770 to £31,339

Please email info.ccan @ for further details and an application form. Closing date for applications is 24 September. CCAN aims to be an equal opportunity employer.
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Spark Plug Curator Award

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, August 8. 2007 • Category: Announcements
The Crafts Council UK is delighted to announce the launch of a new Award scheme for curators.

The Award:
This annual Award scheme will enable successful applicants to each receive a £5,000 Award (inclusive). The Spark Plug Curator Award scheme aims to provide each year a minimum of four selected curators the opportunity to develop an ambitious and innovative exhibition project.

Award Objectives:
- To enable the development of curatorially robust and innovative projects through front end research and development.
- To provide leverage for funding applications.
- Increase the number of challenging and pioneering craft based exhibitions available nationally and regionally.
- Drive the debate into the role of craft in the 21st century.

The Crafts Council Spark Plug Curator Awards are aimed at curators to enable the research and development of a proposed exhibition idea or concept. Each Spark Plug Curator Award consists of a fixed fund from the Crafts Council of £5,000 (inclusive) and lasts for the fixed period of 12 months of research activity, during which time the awardees are required to research and develop an original exhibition project. The application must outline an ambitious and inventive exhibition proposal which engages with contemporary craft. Projects that engage with the following themes are encouraged:

- Interdisciplinary & New contexts; craft in the 21st century; for example: fashion, architecture, design, visual arts.
- Internationalism
- Globalism & Identity

The proposal can be for an exhibition or curatorial event inside or outside the gallery space. Proposals for projects that address the content of the exhibition, concept and staging of the exhibition in imaginative, creative and original ways are welcomed.

Who can apply?
Applicants must be domiciled in the UK. The project proposed must take place in the UK, although the idea may be realised as a virtual or web-based activity. Applicants must have a minimum of three years of proven curatorial experience, either as part of an institution or as a freelance curator. Partnership projects are welcomed.

Closing date for applications: 20th October 2007

For further information, please visit the Crafts Council website.
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Pick 'N Mix - August 2007

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, August 1. 2007 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to the August edition of Pick 'N Mix.

  • Out of all the online coverage of the "Grand Tour", I found Petra Chevrier and Cheryl Rondeau's documentation of their cycling tour of these mammoth art events one of the most entertaining sources. Art Ride 2007 is a terrific first-hand account of this confluence of art events, with lots of video footage to spice it up. Check it out!

  • John Szarkowski, named "the single most important curator that photography has ever had" by Vanity Fair in 2005, has died at age 81 from complications arising from a stroke. Credited with launching the careers of Lee Friedlander and Diane Arbus, Szarkowski was the Director of Photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art from 1962 to 1991, and was also a highly influential critic.

  • The Red House Centre for Culture and Debate in Sofia, Bulgaria is looking for proposals for its "Curator Season". Exhibition and event proposals must arrive by September 30, 2007, so check out their website for more details, and give yourself plenty of time (it's summer after all, so everything moves a little slower!) to respond to the call.

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