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Applications closed on September 7, 2020.
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The Emerging Curators Institute (ECI) supports emerging curators from diverse backgrounds through an in-depth research, professional development, and presentation program. The first of its kind in the region, the program aims to foster critical dialogue around curatorial practice and provide opportunities for Minnesota-based emerging curators. This is the second cycle of the ECI program.

Based in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, the program will offer funded fellowships to four emerging curators. Over the course of the year-long fellowship (September 2020 – August 2021), each participant will develop and produce an exhibition or curatorial project. ECI will provide support for all aspects of project-planning and fellows will meet regularly with mentors, guest curators, and field professionals who will guide their learning through a collaborative educational model.

As fellows develop their exhibitions or curatorial projects, ECI will facilitate access to research resources in the Twin Cities including art libraries, collections, and exhibitions. Fellows will fine-tune their ideas through writing and critical exchange. The program will culminate with each fellow producing and mounting an exhibition or curatorial project with a public talk.

In addition to the fellowship program, ECI also will aim to host a series of public programs in 2020-2021, which will provide opportunities for fellows and local audiences to engage in topics related to contemporary curatorial practice. All programs will be free and open to the public. Please check ECI’s events page and social media channels for updates on future public programs.


The program consists of a direct learning intensive for four Minnesota-based emerging curators and a suite of public programs on curatorial practice that are free and open to the public.

Participating curatorial fellows will receive:

  • A stipend of $3,000 plus an exhibition budget
  • Regular critical exchange and guidance from a curatorial mentor
  • Support and feedback on the conceptual development of a curatorial project from their fellowship cohort, visiting curators, and program staff
  • Exhibition-related marketing and publicity support
  • Participation in a curatorial learning intensive (monthly cohort meetings)
  • Access to research resources and Minnesota arts libraries
  • Contextual readings on contemporary curatorial practice
  • Connections with artists, peers, field professionals, and organizations
  • Conversations and guest appearances with previous ECI fellows
  • Access to a series of lectures by local and national curators

Successful applicants will be expected to:

  • Propose and organize an exhibition or curatorial project
  • Develop their project starting in Fall 2020 and continuing up through the presentation of their exhibition/project in summer 2021
  • Set and meet deadlines for exhibition materials
  • Communicate with fellowship staff, mentors, and venue partners and uphold professional standards
  • Attend their exhibition opening and give a public talk (dates negotiable in conversation with venue partner)
  • Attend two meetings per month in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area starting in September 2020 and ending in summer 2021
    • Cohort meetings and meetings involving all the fellows are mandatory. Regular date TBD based upon full cohort’s availability.
    • Mentor meetings are scheduled in conjunction with fellows mentors and are monthly.


August 10: Fellowship applications open
August 24: Info Session via Zoom, 6:30pm CST
September 7th: Fellowship applications due
Mid-September: Fellows notified; Program starts & Introduction cohort meeting for selected fellows
September 2020 – Summer 2021: Twice-monthly meetings with cohort and guest lectures
Summer 2021: Exhibitions open-dates to be determined with venue partners


The Emerging Curators Institute (ECI) is open to Minnesota-based curators with limited experience who exhibit promise and will benefit from the guidance, resources, and open learning format that the program offers. The program strongly encourages applicants who will not otherwise have access to the funding, resources, or education offered through the program. The program is open to self-identified curators or future curators including but not limited to artists with curatorial interests; undergraduates and graduates of art history programs, contemporary/visual culture studies programs, or other related programs; self-taught practitioners; and arts and community organizers. The program welcomes non-traditional exhibition practices and artistic exploration of all disciplines. Applicants of all backgrounds, ethnicities, gender identities, and physical abilities within Minnesota are encouraged to apply. ECI looks for unique exhibition and/or curatorial project ideas that will benefit from the depth of offerings the program can provide.

This program is open to applicants living in the state of Minnesota. Be advised that part of the fellowship involves monthly meetings, occurring in the Twin Cities region, at a time to be determined based on accepted fellows’ availability. Accommodations to participate will be made for any accepted fellow who may not be able to be physically present for each meeting, as long as the fellow is available during agreed upon times. Fellowship stipends may be used for travel; however, no additional funds for ground transportation, relocation, or housing are available through the program at this time.

The program wishes to accommodate a wide range of applicants and needs. Info sessions will be held online on August 24 at 6:30PM. Please contact our staff at [email protected] with any questions regarding your eligibility and participation.

Note: Due to the changes caused by COVID-19, ECI may be required to alter the program as needed during the 2020-2021 cycle.