Creating and Curating
by Colleen Blaine
When attending an art exhibit, it is easy to appreciate an artist’s work. What is less understood is that it takes an entire team to create a vision for the exhibit, collaborate with the artist and bring the event to fruition. This experience is the basis of the Clemson Curates: Visual Arts and the Clemson Campus Creative Inquiry project led by Denise Woodward-Detrich in the Department of Art. In this project, students have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of art curation through the creation of exhibitions in locations throughout campus.
The creation of an art exhibition is a multifaceted process and this team works in every aspect of an event’s development. The students define the overall theme for an exhibition, select artwork, properly care for and frame pieces, prepare artist profiles, plan the event opening and create marketing materials. The team is also responsible for establishing loan agreements if the artists’ work is being borrowed from a gallery or museum.
“Creating exhibits that are engaging for the Clemson community can be a challenge, but nonetheless, it must be done so that people who are not exposed to art every day or have access to it can still experience art for free,” Morgan Davis, a sophomore health science major, explained.
As requests have come in to mount art exhibits in multiple buildings throughout campus, the Clemson community has recognized the work of this team. Sikes Hall, the College of Arts, Architecture and Humanities Dean’s Gallery in Strode Tower, and the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts currently host exhibits designed by the Clemson Curates team. The ground floor of Sikes Hall is hosting the “NextUp Invitational IV” exhibit which includes 23 works by Clemson undergraduate students. These works were selected from 170 submissions in the Foundations Review. To be eligible to participate in the Foundations Review, students must have completed all foundation level studio courses in the Department of Art. “It is always one of our goals to underscore the talent that comes from our university in a way that will aid students in their ventures to become successful professionals after college,” Davis said.
The students in this project invest several semesters of time and preparation to plan one art exhibit—from conception to the final event. Through this project, students gain experience in curation and learn about the art industry from a professional perspective. Students not only work creatively to develop a story for the exhibit, but also must demonstrate professionalism when working with artists and one another. Overall, this team brings culture to Clemson through works of art, beginning in an artist’s studio and ending with a public exhibition.
Barbara J. Speziale