Baltimore’s Art Attack: MICA’s New MFA in Curatorial Practice Sets “Sites”
This spring, be on the lookout for even more awesome local art to bloom in place. Numerous places, in fact. Thanks to MICA’s new M.F.A. in Curatorial Practice, gifted grads are partnering with organizations and communities to stage exhibitions across Baltimore from March through June.
Wait, what the heck is an M.F.A. in Curatorial Practice? You ask. Get this…The M.F.A. in Curatorial Practice program is actually the first of its kind in the U.S. The terminal degree program trains students “to take a responsible approach to the expanding role curators play in creating a vibrant cultural life. Designed to forge connections among art, artists and the community, the program’s collaborative and individual curatorial projects allow students to explore new methods of exhibition presentation,” according to press materials.
The inaugural C.P. students (as I like to abbreviate them) will mount individual thesis exhibitions at venues citywide, including the Creative Alliance at the Patterson, Baltimore Clayworks, Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore American Indian Center Museum, and many more. “These exhibitions will explore topics ranging from the history of African-American music to humans’ evolving relationship with technology and nature. The artwork presented will both pull from historical collections as well as showcase the latest by contemporary local and international artists,” says the chatty press packet.
“As part of the two-year M.F.A. in Curatorial Practice program, students conceive and complete individual curatorial projects with a partnering venue, organization or community,” said Curatorial Practice Director and MICA Curator-in-Residence George Ciscle. “These partnerships allow students to form enduring relationships with artists and the regional arts community, while at the same time giving them significant insight into issues relevant to curatorial practice.”
Here’s an overview of great-sounding projects coming soon. We’ll report from the field with more specifics soon, including an interview with participants in Exchange: A Home-Based [International Artist] Residency. Stay tuned. And mark your calendars. (The following details cribbed from MICA’s PR kit.)
M.F.A. in Curatorial Practice Individual Thesis Exhibitions:
Curated by: Jaimianne Amicucci
Saturday, March 2–Saturday, April 13
Baltimore Clayworks: 5707 Smith Ave.
Reception: Saturday, March 2, 6-8 p.m.
Global Perspectives is an exhibition linking Baltimore and the international community through functional clay vessels. The exhibition features work created by participants of Baltimore City Community College’s Refugee Youth Project along with international artisans from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Baltimore Clayworks is a not-for-profit ceramic art center located in the Mt. Washington neighborhood in northwest Baltimore.
Reloading the Canon: African Traditions in Contemporary Art
Curated by: Allison Gulick
Tuesday, March 5–Tuesday, April 2
James E. Lewis Museum of Art at Morgan State University: 2201 Argonne Dr.
Reception: Thursday, March 7, 6–8 p.m.
This exhibition aims to address the influence of African art on the Western canon of art history, as well as situate its influence within the context of historical and contemporary artworks. This idea will be illuminated through the juxtaposition of objects traditionally categorized as historical objects against contemporary pieces. Artwork will be drawn from within the museum’s collection, as well as from local and regional artists working within the themes of perception and cultural identity. This exhibition received a $10,000 Challenge America Fast-Track grant from the National Endowment of the Arts.
The James E. Lewis Museum of Art is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the academic and cultural needs of Morgan State University and the surrounding community through exhibitions, workshops, seminars, radio and television broadcasts, and youth education programming.
Perception & Ability
Curated by: Gabrielle Buzgo
Sunday, March 10–Sunday, May 26
Evergreen Museum & Library: 4545 N. Charles St.
Reception: Tuesday, March 12, 6–8 p.m.
Perception & Ability will examine the way we perceive a person’s level of ability based on a label, such as “disabled” or “handicapped.” These imposed labels limit perceptions of individual’s abilities and show little regard to how individuals define themselves or defy such labeling. A juried call will select artists who address society’s need for labeling ability levels and how labeling affects perceptions. The exhibition will also highlight the unique design of Johns Hopkins University’s Evergreen Museum & Library, a Gilded Age mansion that was home to two generations of the family of John W. Garrett, an American banker, philanthropist and president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
The Evergreen Museum & Library at The Johns Hopkins University houses the Garrett Family’s collection of over 50,000 objects, including rare books, decorative art, fine art and other precious belongings.
EXCHANGE: A Home-Based Artist Residency
Curated by: Hyejung Jang
Friday, March 22–Saturday, May 25
School 33 Art Center: 1427 Light St.
Reception: Friday, March 22, 6–9 p.m.
This exhibition is the culmination of a two-month long artist residency designed to pioneer new ways of fostering a sense of interconnectedness through the arts. During the residency period, two emerging international artists—experimental installation and performance artist Elisa Garcia de La Huerta from Chile and experimental artist Kityi Wong from China—will be placed with two local families in Baltimore, sharing their everyday lives and art. The artists will produce work inspired by the experience with the host families and the city of Baltimore.
School 33 Art Center is a non-profit art organization bridging contemporary artists and the viewing public through exhibitions, studios for artists, and classes for community.
@ the Trails
Curated by: Matt Spalding
Friday, April 19–Wednesday, May 15
Cylburn Arboretum: 4915 Greenspring Ave.
@ the Trails is an online application that explores the new role technology plays in how humans experience the world. The exhibition uses Cylburn Arboretum’s existing collections of trails, trees and gardens as subject matter to explore the myriad ways humans form a relationship to nature. Through the experience of a newly created application designed specifically for use at Cylburn Arboretum, @ the Trails investigates how technology supplements the experience of the arboretum and its collections, as well as how technology can hinder the experience of nature.
With gardens, greenhouses and woodlands full of exotic and native tree and plant collections, Cylburn Arboretum is Baltimore’s horticultural center. Programming is offered from the park’s Vollmer Visitor Center year-round.
Clifton Park Works
Curated by: Emily Clemens
Saturday, April 20–Saturday, May 25
Civic Works at Clifton Park: 2701 Saint Lo Dr.
Clifton Park Works will be a group exhibition in Clifton Park for those who frequent the recreational space and the surrounding community. Artists will create site-specific outdoor installations in Clifton Park that highlight pieces of the property’s vast history.
Civic Works is Baltimore’s urban service corps and an AmeriCorps program. The organization’s mission is to strengthen Baltimore’s communities through education, skills development and community service.
Stories in Form From the Baltimore American Indian Center
Curated by: Catherine Akins
Friday, April 26–Sunday, May 26
Baltimore American Indian Center Heritage Museum: 113 S. Broadway
This exhibition will feature objects from Baltimore American Indian Center Heritage Museum’s collection in connection with contemporary forms of storytelling. New works, developed during programs preceding the exhibition, will feature expressions of community-engaged oral and visual storytelling. Artists include filmmaker Zach Greenbaum ’16 (video & film arts), who is producing a documentary on his father who is Cherokee, as well as Ashley Minner ’05 ’07 ’11 (general fine arts, M.A. in Community Arts, M.F.A. in Community Arts), a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina who works with youth from the Native American After School Art Program.
The Baltimore American Indian Center is a community based non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of Native Americans living in Maryland by providing social, economic and training assistance, as well as access to health-related services, since 1968. The Baltimore American Indian Center Heritage Museum supports the efforts of the organization by expanding the knowledge of both Native and non-Native people through exhibitions, programming, events and the sale of merchandise in the gift shop.
Globe Poster: Not To Be Missed!
Curated by: Chloe Helton-Gallagher
Saturday, April 27–Saturday, June 8
Creative Alliance at the Patterson: 3136 Eastern Ave.
Founded in Baltimore in 1929, the historic Globe Poster Printing Company produced some of the most iconic posters in music history. Until the company’s closing in 2010, Globe created posters for thousands of America’s most influential musical acts, introducing a unique visual language with a lasting impact on design culture. Globe’s production represents a vibrant record of the birth of R&B, rock & roll and other musical genres rooted in African-American culture and history, and a majority of the collection is now owned by MICA. Through a major interpretive exhibition with extensive programming, Globe Poster: Not To Be Missed! will engage audiences in celebrating African-American music history and the posters that so vividly tell the story. This exhibition received a $10,000 grant from the Maryland Humanities Council.
Creative Alliance at the Patterson is a non-profit art center in the East Baltimore neighborhood of Highlandtown that builds communities by bringing together artists and audiences from diverse backgrounds to experience spectacular arts programs and engage in the creative process.
Curated by: Deana Haggag
Through Friday, June 28
City Arts Apartments: 440 E. Oliver St.
For her thesis, MICA student Deana Haggag has been directing Gallery CA inside the City Arts building in Baltimore’s burgeoning Station North Arts & Entertainment District. The gallery offers a varied range of exhibitions and programming that cater to many diverse audiences. In partnership with the Institute for Figuring in Los Angeles, the final exhibition on view in conjunction with Haggag’s thesis, Baltimore Satellite Reef facilitated by City Arts resident Karida Collins, will be on view from Friday, May 3 through Friday, June 28.
Gallery CA, located on the ground floor of the 69-unit City Arts residential building in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District, offers a varied range of exhibitions and programming that cater to a diverse audience.
Visitor hours and admission prices for individual sites vary; please visit the site website for more information.
Image captions above (left to right): Jacob Lawrence, Antiquities, gouache on paper, 1964. This painting will be on display as part of Reloading the Canon: African Traditions in Contemporary Art, an exhibition at James E. Lewis Museum of Art at Morgan State University curated by Allison Gulick; This Chubby Checker poster will be on display at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson as part of Globe Poster: Not To Be Missed!, an exhibition celebrating African-American music history curated by Chloe Helton-Gallagher; and Global Perspectives, curated by Jaimianne Amicucci, will feature a mix of ceramic ware made by teens from the Refugee Youth Project alongside traditional vessels made by international artisans. (Photo by Jaimianne Amicucci).