• Lydia Espinoza

Keeping up the momentum

What is my role as a curator? What does that mean? What will it be in the future? These are some questions that been floating around my mind for some time, and most definitely as of recently. Some days, like those in the past couple weeks, I have found myself completely baffled and clueless as to what I am supposed to do, how can I help, and what else can I do. Though I may not have all the answers right away, I think that asking myself these questions from time-to-time is natural and a vital sign of life in this curator's pulse. I like to revisit these types of questions like a graphic designer would reference the keywords of a project to ensure the project is on-brand. Likewise, I reference these questions to ensure I am doing the best that I can and that my work is going in the right direction. Naturally, I have always been a curious person which has led me to some fantastic experiences that have shaped my role as a curator and art professional and fueled my passion to want to make awesome things happen. I'll share a little bit of how I see my role of a curator and why it has always kept me intrigued and wanting to do more of it. And, honestly, the awesome part is that my role continues to evolve as I grow and learn from new experiences and all the different people I meet.

The best and most entertaining description I've heard about what a curator does likened it to being a big party planner. Not only did that comparison make laugh but I felt it worked because it encompasses the most thrilling parts of curating for me - the bringing of people and ideas together and celebrating. It's interesting to see individuals engage with each other and the artwork and see what conversations develop. The discussions that arise from these moments are what I find most valuable. They can be anything from artist talks and panel discussions to the conversations that happen amongst the viewers and the community and even what is written about them after. They are valuable because thoughts and ideas are being actively shared and explored. I think this exchange is what I am here for as a curator. And, I am grateful that I can create exhibitions and other creative projects that facilitate a space for these exchanges of ideas, information and the bringing-together of people to do it.

I question what my role as a curator will be next like I'm jumping into another dimension completely unrelated to one I'm in right now, but it's not. I'm in it now. My role is currently evolving and problem-solving in the present-time. It is taking into consideration reaching and connecting with an audience outside of the white cube. The coolest thing I have seen recently that touches on this is the abundance of live-streamed discussions I've been seeing pop up lately. For the last couple of weeks, I've been seeing more and more notifications for who's going live and its exciting to see this type of sharing going on. For example, I just tuned into the latest installment of the Garden Conversation series between Susanne Vielmetter and Genevieve Gaignard. It was a cool and informative convo between the two about what what's been going on and what projects were coming up next. For me, the highlight was hearing about Gaignard's current exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, Outside Looking In. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go see it before the current lockdown but it was a great to see a few shots from the show and get some insight about the work from Gaignard herself. That helped me understand first-hand the true value of connecting with an audience beyond the gallery and keeping the momentum going. And, the latter being what I think is super important right now and what is needed from my role as a curator whether it's dipping into live discussions or creating projects that take into consideration new ways of engaging. The momentum of curating continues.

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