Curatorial Intensive in New Orleans: Public Symposium

Curatorial Intensive in New Orleans: Public Symposium
Saturday, January 24, 2015

Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans (CAC)
900 Camp Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
FREE and open to the public

Join the Curatorial Intensive participants in New Orleans on January 24 for a public symposium, where the participants present their exhibition and project proposals that they have developed throughout the course of the program.

Symposium Schedule
Welcome and Session 1: 11:00am–12:30pm
Break: 12:30–1:30pm
Sessions 2 and 3: 1:30–5:00pm

This program, focusing on regional networks, brings together emerging curators from across the American South and around the world for the opportunity to exchange ideas, develop their curatorial practice, and explore Prospect.3: Notes for Now, the international biennial curated by Franklin Sirmans. To learn more about the program, click HERE.

Participants include: Brandon Alvendia (Chicago, IL), Paulina Ascencio (Zapopan, Mexico), Charles Campbell (Kingston, Jamaica), Katherine Cohn (New York, NY), Marcela Correa (New Orleans, LA), Ryan N. Dennis (Houston, TX), Lauren Schell Dickens (Washington, D.C.), Saisha Grayson (New York, NY), Katherine Gressel (New York, NY), Melissa Messina (Savannah, GA), Felicia Mings (Chicago, IL), and Yesomi Umolu (Lansing, MI).

This event is free and open to the public, though seating is limited. Please RSVP to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with SYMPOSIUM in the subject line.

January 24, 2015

Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans (CAC)
900 Camp Street
New Orleans, LA 70130


Brandon Alvendia

Brandon Alvendia is an artist, independent curator, and educator.

Brandon researches and regularly collaborates with artist-run initiatives around North America to develop site-specific community-driven exhibitions, events, and publications that create space for experimentation, discussion, and collaboration. He is the founder of Chicago alternative spaces artLedge (2004-2007 w/ Caleb Lyons), BEN RUSSELL (2009-2011 w/Ben Russell), The Storefront (2010-2014), and Silver Galleon Press (2008-present).

In 2020, Brandon was Saturday editor and livestream producer/host for The Quarantine Times (published by Public Media Institute), organized the Zoom happenings OFFICE PARTY 1&2 for the 6th edition of the Common Field Convening, and closed the year out with an internet performance series for public intimacies, curated by Abigail Satinsky at Tufts University Art Galleries, Boston titled The Love Bug (Fwd:LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU). Forthcoming collaborations are with Brooklyn-based print/web outfit Brief Histories and multimedia outlet Lumpen TV Worldwide.

Brandon has taught at the School of The Art Institute, University of Illinois, and Columbia College, all in Chicago, and Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland, ME. He is an alum of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA ‘03), the University of Illinois at Chicago (MFA ‘07), Copycat Academy (Toronto, 2014), and Independent Curators International Curatorial Intensive (New Orleans, 2015).

Paulina Ascencio

Paulina Ascencio (b. Guadalajara, 1988)  Independent curator and researcher based in Mexico, with a background in Philosophy and Social Sciences. She is currently Associate Curator at Ladera Oeste, in Guadalajara. She has been part of the residency programs of KADIST, San Francisco (2012); PAOS, Guadalajara (2016); Curatorial Program for Research: Dimming the Northern Lights with the support of Iaspis / The Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s Visiting Expert Programme (2018); and the Curatorial Intensive program of Independent Curators International (ICI) in New Orleans (2015). She has developed her practice in institutions, museums, galleries, and independent spaces in Mexico and the United States. Among her research and pedagogical projects are AikidoGDL (2018), Faena (2017-2018), and Archivo MMXV (2015). Her texts have been published in La Tempestad, Terremoto, and Código.

Charles Campbell

Charles Campbell is a Jamaican born multidisciplinary artist, writer and curator. He has exhibited throughout North America, the Caribbean and Europe, representing Jamaica and Canada in events such as the Havana Biennial; Infinite Islands: Contemporary Caribbean Art, held at the Brooklyn Museum; Wrestling With the Image: Caribbean Interventions, held at the Art Museum of the Americas and Contemporary Jamaican Art, circa1962 | circa2012, held at the Art Gallery of Mississauga. Campbell has written for Frieze Magazine and is also a regular contributor to ARC Magazine, a Caribbean arts journal.

Katherine Cohn

Katherine Cohn is a curator and producer finishing an M.A. degree in Columbia University’s Modern Critical and Curatorial Studies program. Prior to starting at Columbia, Cohn was Associate Curator at the Calder Foundation and co-founder of A.D. Projects, a curatorial collaborative dedicated to presenting the work of emerging American artists and experimental genres in alternative spaces. Cohn produced and co-curated the Calder Foundation’s 12-hour projects—continuous programming in non-traditional locations of cross-generational and cross-disciplinary works such as film, sound, static art installations and performance. Last year’s They Might Well Have Been Remnants of the Boat was presented in a neogothic refectory and featured works by artists such as Jack Goldstein, Christine Sun Kim, Sheila Hicks, Alejandro Guzman and Elka Krajewska vs. John Williams. The previous Oh, you mean cellophane and all that crap took place in a halted construction zone and featured works by artists such as Mary Ellen Bute, Alexandre Singh, C Spencer Yeh, Darren Bader, Aki Sasamoto and James Lee Byars. Cohn also produced and curated Derrick Adams’s Once Upon A Time…, Performa 13/Calder Foundation/ Salon 94, New York.  Past work with A.D. Projects include co-producing Kenya Robinson’s A work performance for Monday Night, C24 Gallery, NY; co-curating and co-producing Reliquary/SUPERDARK, a project for the New Museum’s “Ideas City Festival” that also launched No Longer Empty and LES CB3’s “Empty Spaces Initiative”; CAMERA VIVANT, Central Utah Arts Center, Ephraim, UT; and group shows at nameless locations such as: Piles, After Dark 78 and After Dark 425.

Marcela Correa

Marcela Correa has recently received two MA degrees in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London and in The History and Business of Art and Collecting from the Institut d’Etudes Supérieures des Arts/Warwick University in Paris and London. She has worked in several European galleries, ranging from antiquities to contemporary, such as Galerie Kugel, Sprovieri Gallery, and Ronchini Gallery. Apart from working in galleries, Correa has worked closely with two important artists in the New Orleans area, George Dunbar and Tameka Norris. Since July she has been interning with Senior Curator of Collections Research, Alice Yelen Gitter, at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Here she has understood the importance in cultivating relationships between upstanding city institutions, such as NOMA, and smaller arts centers in other parts of New Orleans and Louisiana. Curating exhibitions that can engage the public visually, but also educationally, has become an extremely important aspect of what they try to achieve every time a new exhibition is put together. Apart from successfully fulfilling internships in other countries, Correa wrote her second dissertation on art and regeneration in New Orleans, giving her a deeper understanding of the city’s growth since Hurricane Katrina. There are still many aspects between the creative environment and civic environment, which need to be discerned carefully. Her hope is to continue to cultivate conversations between these two environments within this city, as well as educate the public on different art practices. Correa is hoping to publish her research within the coming year.

Ryan N. Dennis

Ryan N. Dennis is the chief curator and artistic director of the Center for Art & Public Exchange (CAPE) at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Ryan previously served as the Curator and Programs Director at Project Row Houses where her work focused on African American contemporary art with a particular emphasis on socially engaged practices, site-specific projects, public interventions and the development of public-facing programs for adults and youth. She is deeply interested in the intersection of art and social justice while creating equitable opportunities for artists to thrive in their work.

While at PRH she has organized and co-organized more than 12 Artist Rounds including, Round 47: The Act of Doing: Revitalizing, Preserving and Protecting Third Ward (2017); Round 46: Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter at Project Row Houses (2017); and Round 43: Small Business/Big Change: Economic Perspectives from Artists and Artrepreneurs (2015). Under Dennis’ purview, many highly regarded artists have showcased their work at PRH, including Simone Leigh, Autumn Knight, and Otabenga Jones & Associates.

Throughout her tenure, she organized the 2014 and 2018 Social Practice.Social Justice symposiums. Dennis also led the creation of the 2:2:2 Exchange Residency Program with the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, and established Project/Site, a temporary, site-specific, commission-based public art program. In 2017, she launched the PRH Fellowship with the Center for Art and Social Engagement at the University of Houston’s Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts.

Dennis conceives, implements, and directs public arts programs to generate engagement within the Third Ward community and beyond. Programming ranges from gallery talks, lectures, and panel discussions to experimental and participatory experiences with works of art.

Her writings have appeared in online and print catalogs and journals, including Prospect.3 Notes for Now, Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, and The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Studio magazine. Recently, she edited PRH’s inaugural book, Collective Creative Actions: Project Row Houses at 25, and contributed to the first monograph of artist Autumn Knight titled, In Rehearsal: Autumn Knight, published by the Krannert Art Museum.

Prior to joining PRH, she worked at the Museum for African Art in New York City as the traveling exhibition manager. Her curatorial credits have included El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You about Africa, Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria and Jane Alexander: Surveys (from the Cape of Good Hope). Dennis has served as a community organizer and a curatorial assistant at The Menil Collection in Houston. She has been a visiting lecturer and critic at a number of art schools and institutions and has taught courses on community-based practices and contemporary art at the University of Houston.

Dennis earned her master’s degree in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute with a focus in Curatorial Practice. She is also on the board of the Alliance of Artists Communities and advisory committees of Gulf Coast Literary and Fine Arts Journal, University of Houston’s System-Wide Art Acquisition, and Houston Art Alliance’s Civic Art Committee. She is currently a proud fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership’s 2019 Fellowship Program. Dennis resides in Houston, Texas.

Lauren Schell Dickens

Lauren Schell Dickens is senior curator at the San José Museum of Art. Since joining the museum in 2016 as curator, she has organized major exhibitions including Our whole, unruly selves (2021), Undersoul: Jay DeFeo (2019), With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith (2019), Other Walks, Other Lines (2018), and The House Imaginary (2018). She has organized solo exhibitions and projects with Diana Al-Hadid, Sofia Cordova, Woody de Othello, Brendan Fernandes, Aislinn Thomas, and Lara Schnitger, among others, and co-organized the major survey of Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World (2019), which toured nationally. She’s currently organizing the first major exhibition of Kelly Akashi’s practice, which will tour nationally. Prior to SJMA, Dickens held curatorial positions at the National Gallery of Art and Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. She received her B.A. from Yale University and her M.A. from Columbia University. Her public project with The Propeller Group and El Mac was awarded the 2018 Creative Impact Award by the city of San José. She is a 2019 Warhol Curatorial Research Fellow and recipient of the Fellows of Contemporary Art 2022 Curators Award.

Saisha Grayson

Saisha Grayson is the curator of time-based media at the Smithsonian American Art Museum; she joined the museum staff in March 2018. Her responsibilities include research, exhibitions and acquisitions related to the museum’s distinguished collection of time-based media arts. Recent projects include a permanent collection gallery connecting early media and performance art to a new contemporary acquisition, and a pop-up exhibition Pride @ SAAM featuring a participatory performance by Brendan Fernandes.  Since 2019, Grayson has organized an annual Women Filmmakers Festival at SAAM, and in 2020, she helped spearhead the 48-hour livestreaming presentation of Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message, The Message is Death. Grayson was previously the assistant curator at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum from 2011 to 2016. There she was organizing curator for Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey (2013), lead curator for Chitra Ganesh: Eyes of Time (2014) and co-curator for the experimental, multi-part exhibition Agitprop! (2015).  Her writings on media and performance art, and occasionally medieval art, have appeared in numerous journals and catalogs, and she has taught art history at Queens College, CUNY and Ithaca College, NYC program. Grayson earned a master’s degree from Columbia University (2008) and her doctorate at the Graduate Center, CUNY (2018), with fellowship support from the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the Luce/ACLS program, and the Graduate Center for her dissertation on avant-garde cellist, catalyst and collaborator Charlotte Moorman.

Katherine Gressel

Katherine Gressel is a NYC-based independent curator, artist and writer focused on public/site-specific art. She has received grants from the Puffin Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, and Brooklyn Historical Society for her original Brooklyn Utopias (BU) exhibition and programming series inviting contemporary artists to respond to urban planning issues. Katherine has produced five major BU exhibitions to date, recommended by Hyperallergic, Time Out NY, News 12 Brooklyn, and the L Magazine. Katherine was a Curatorial Lab fellow in 2013 for the NYC nonprofit No Longer Empty that brings art to vacant spaces, co-organizing a site-specific exhibition in an empty Greenwich Village storefront. For the past 3 years, she has also co-directed the FIGMENT Summer-long Sculpture Program, producing 5-10 interactive sculptures each summer on NYC’s Governors Island.  She participated twice in the Museum Camp program at the Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz exploring experimental exhibition design and evaluation. Katherine has presented original research on public/community art for; the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network; and Public Art Dialogue. She was a contributing editor/writer to Street Art: San Francisco (Abrams, 2009) and the upcoming Blackwell Companion to Public Art.Katherine has exhibited her artwork throughout NYC and was a 2008 Abbey Mural Fellow at the National Academy and 2009 CEC ArtsLink travel grantee. She served as Smack Mellon Gallery’s education/residency program manager for 4 years and also consulted/worked for The Times Square Alliance, Creative Time, and Arts to Grow, among others. Katherine received her art BA from Yale and arts administration MA from Columbia.

Melissa Messina

Melissa Messina curated solo exhibitions for such artists as Nick Cave, Whitfield Lovell, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Shinique Smith, and the photography exhibition Room In My Head: Staging Psychological Spaces, among others as the former Senior Curator at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Since the opening of the SCAD Museum of Art in 2011, Messina has curated exhibitions for Uta Barth, Lynda Benglis, Matthew Brandt, Ingrid Calame, Nicola López, Jason Middlebrook, Alex Prager, Tim Rollins & K.O.S., Ursula Von Rydingsvard, and the group exhibition Stretching the Limits: Fibers in Contemporary Painting. Prior to SCAD, Messina was the National Program Director for ArtTable, during which time she developed the public programs for Prospect.1 New Orleans biennial; was a guest curator at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum where she was formerly employed during the Center’s opening in 2006; and was an independent curator in Atlanta, Georgia. She earned a B.F.A. from the Atlanta College of Art, and a M.F.A. from Pratt Institute, where she coordinated its 2005–06 Visiting Artist Lecture Series. Selected publications include: Walking Around in a Garden: Prints by Kiki Smith and Valerie Hammond (forthcoming); Alison Elizabeth Taylor Brings It to the Table; and the curatorial catalogue essays Alexandre Arrechea: The Rules of Play; Clare Rojas: Through the Woods; Chakaia Booker: Sustain; Youssef Nabil: I Live Within You; and Mercy, Patience and Destiny: The Women of Whitfield Lovell’s Tableaux. She is currently the curator of the Mildred Thompson estate.

Felicia Mings

Felicia Mings is a Curator at the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU). At the core of her work is a focus on the intersections of curatorial practice and community-based arts education, as well as interpreting and presenting modern and contemporary art of Africa and the African diaspora. Previously, Mings held the position of Academic Curator in the Department of Academic Engagement and Research at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she co-curated Malangatana: Mozambique Modern (2020) and The People Shall Govern! Medu Art Ensemble and the Anti-Apartheid Poster (2019) and co-edited the accompanying catalogues. She also provided leadership on several initiatives that fostered new approaches to training emerging museum professionals and artists and student engagement with the museum’s collection, including the Andrew W. Mellon Summer Academy and the Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program. Born and raised in Canada, Mings earned her MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her Honors BA in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto and Sheridan College.

Yesomi Umolu

Yesomi Umolu is Director and Curator, Logan Center Exhibitions at the University of Chicago where she leads an ambitious program of international contemporary art focused on emerging interdisciplinary practices. Umolu also teaches courses in contemporary visual art and spatial practices as a lecturer in the humanities division. Prior to joining the Logan, Umolu held curatorial positions at the MSU Broad Museum; Walker Art Center; and Manifesta 8, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art. She has also contributed to programming at the Serpentine Galleries and Tate Modern.

Umolu has worked on key solo exhibitions and commissioned projects with Assemble, Ursula Biemann, and Paulo Tavares, John Akomfrah, Mike Cloud, Mariana Castillo Deball, Kapwani Kiwanga, Candice Lin, Harold Mendez, Camille Norment, Karthik Pandian, and Andros Zins-Browne, among others. As Artistic Director of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial (2018-2020), Umolu oversaw a critically acclaimed curatorial program featuring new commissions, off-site installations, and a host of performances, talks, workshops, and community engagements with over 80 international contributors.

Umolu is a 2016 recipient of the prestigious Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts Curatorial Fellowship. She has been a visiting lecturer and critic at numerous universities including Williams College; University College London; University of Michigan; and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, among others. She served on the curatorial advisory board for the United States Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale. She is a trustee of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago.

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