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Emerging Curators Institute (ECI) was founded by Jehra Patrick, an artist and curator practicing in Minneapolis, MN. In 2016, Jehra initiated conversations with artists, thinkers and curators to better understand gaps in the arts ecosystem, and learned of barriers for emerging curators; particularly those who were BIPOC, women, LGBTQIA+ and gender non-confirming. Emerging Curators Institute’s fellowship program was launched in 2019 in response to these conversations.

“The future of curation is really working with people, building relationships and valuing artists as equals, rather than subjects.” – Jehra Patrick

Jehra Patrick is fair-skinnedd with shoulder-length curly brown hair. She is wearing a long sleeve striped turtle neck and smiling brightly towards the camera. She is sitting in front of a book shelf that is mostly blurred.
Jehra Patrick, Founder of Emerging Curators Institute

Based in the Twin Cities, ECI is a groundbreaking initiative designed to build the individual practices of emerging curators—emphasizing women, gender-non-conforming, LGBTQIA2S+, disabled, and BIPOC curators—through collaborative and in-depth research, professional development, mentorship, and free public programming. ECI advances curatorial careers by offering an expansive fellowship that enriches the learning and experiences of Fellows, and providing resources to realize a public project in the following year. The first of its kind in the region, ECI aims to foster critical dialogue around curatorial practice and provide opportunities for Minnesota-based emerging curators.

In continuing to be guided by thoughtful exchanges and engagement with diverse communities, ECI inspires progressive curatorial practices through the fellowship and offers much needed opportunities to present curatorial projects in partnership with venues across the state.

Thought leaders such as Christina Wiles and Co-Directors Esther Callahan, Daniel Atkinson, and Sally Frater have greatly contributed to the growth and evolution of ECI.

In 2023 we welcomed Barak adé Soleil as Director:

“We’re taking an intersectional approach to deepen our awareness of where power resides and the gaps that have led to initiatives such as ECI. An approach that embraces those who are disabled, queer, Black, Native, Indigenous and People of color; those who might not have felt that curation was for them, that it was a possibility.” –Barak adé Soleil

black & white image of the side profile of Barak, a dark brown skinned black person with a mustache, salt & pepper beard who is wearing a gray tweed flat cap and a cable knit sweater. Barak’s face is resting in one hand, signifying being in deep thought.
Barak adé Soleil, Director of Emerging Curators Institute. Photograph by Nikki Bruce.

Barak’s vision is shaped by care, accessibility, and disability justice; drawing from 30+ years of experience in art making, curation, community engagement and administration in the US, Canada, and Europe.

For more information on Emerging Curators Institute, check out our social media channels. You can also sign up for our mailing list.