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The Emerging Curators Institute (ECI) is a new initiative designed to support the individual practices of 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 to provide opportunities for Midwest-based emerging curators.

Based in Minneapolis–St. Paul, Minnesota, the program will offer funded fellowships to four emerging curators. Over the course of the nine-month fellowship, each participant will develop and produce an exhibition or curatorial project. ECI will provide support for all aspects of project-planning. ECI will select project proposals to represent diverse curatorial approaches and disciplines.

Throughout the program year (July 2019 through March 2020) fellows will meet regularly with mentors, guest curators, and field professionals who will guide their learning through a collaborative educational model that allows for individual focus and development. As fellows develop their exhibitions, they will have access to research resources including art libraries, collections, and exhibitions. Fellows will fine-tune their ideas through writing and critical exchange; and they will receive support in connecting with artists and local exhibition venues. The program will culminate with each fellow producing and mounting an exhibition with a public curator’s talk.


The program consists of a direct learning intensive for four Minnesota-based emerging curators and a suite of 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
  • Critical exchange and guidance from a mentor curator
  • 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 meetings)
  • Access to a series of lectures by local and national curators
  • Access to research resources and Minnesota arts libraries
  • Contextual readings on contemporary curatorial practice
  • Connections with artists, peers, field professionals, and organizations

Successful applicants will be expected to:

  • Propose and organize an exhibition or curatorial project
  • Continually develop their project starting in summer 2019 up through the presentation of their exhibition/project in early 2020
  • Meet deadlines for exhibition materials
  • Attend two meetings per month in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area **
  • 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.)

**Skype and low-residency participation is negotiable based on need, but attendance to designated meetings, exhibition opening, and public talk is required. No funds for housing is available at this time.


May XX: Fellowship applications open
June XX: info sessions
June 14: Fellowship applications due
June 28: fellows notified
July XX: program starts
July–Nov 2019: twice-monthly meetings with cohort and guest lectures
Jan 2020 – Mar 2020 – Exhibitions open, dates to be determined with venue partners


The Emerging Curators Institute (ECI) is intended for Minnesota-based curators with limited experience who exhibit promise and would benefit from the guidance, resources, and open learning format that the program offers. The program strongly encourages applicants who would not otherwise have access to the funding, resources, and education offered through the program. The program is open to self-identified 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, physical abilities, and Minnesota locations are encouraged to apply.

This program is only open to applicants living in Minnesota. All program meetings, public programs, and exhibitions will take place in the Twin Cities. 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. Please contact our staff at [email protected] with any questions regarding your eligibility and participation.