Posted on February 24, 2021
Independent curator, artist and educator Brandon Alvendia (Curatorial Intensive, New Orleans ‘15) and curator, writer and scholar Lydia Y. Nichols (New Orleans ‘16) were each awarded an ICI Curatorial Research Fellowship, as part of ICI’s expanding program of individual research initiatives for emerging and mid-career curators.
Conceived to encourage independent research study, writing, and the development of a curatorial project, these two fellowships share a common focus on artistic and curatorial practice taking place in an area defined by the Mississippi River.
Alvendia lives and works in Chicago, where he founded several alternative art spaces, including most recently, Silver Galleon Press (2008-present). He 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. Through his ICI Fellowship in 2021, Alvendia will research the artist-run culture of experimental alternative spaces, radical creative collaboratives, and other independent DIY initiatives along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, mapping an archipelago of art worlds in the middle of the United States.
Nichols is a native to New Orleans, whose work considers the lived experience, ancestral memory, and historical imaginary of race and their impacts on Black aesthetics in the outdoors. She is a contributing curator to ICI’s Notes for Tomorrow, and a Rising: Climate in Crisis resident at Tulane University’s A Studio in the Woods (2020-21). During her ICI Fellowship in 2021, Nichols will conduct environmental-ethnographic research on the dialogic relationship between the Mississippi River, Black women and motherhood, and infrastructures of control, through a 5,000-mile road trip up the Great River Road from Venice, Louisiana, to Lake Itasca, Minnesota, and back to New Orleans, with her toddler son.
Updates on Alvendia’s and Nichols’s research will be available through ICI’s website throughout the year.
The Curatorial Research Fellowships for Alvendia and Nichols are made possible, in part, by grants from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and the Hartfield Foundation, with additional support from the Joyce Foundation.