The Ford Foundation awarded a two-year $150,000 grant to the University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP).
The grant will be used to support a leadership-oriented fellowship program, three short courses for prospective students, and two forums aimed at bringing an international perspective to curation and forming a global network of curators.
The program, housed in the University’s Center for the Arts, prides itself on breaking the traditional boundaries of art. This is reflected in the kind of artists, theorists, scholars, writers, and curators who comprise the program’s faculty. The intent is to infuse the liberal arts into a curatorial education, according to the program’s website.
“Distinct from graduate programs in Curatorial Studies, Arts Administration, Performance Studies, and the Humanities, ICPP offers its students a graduate-level education in innovative and relevant curatorial approaches to developing and presenting time-based art,” the program’s website says. “ICPP encourages emerging curators to enrich their understanding of intellectually rigorous, innovative, and artist-centered curatorial models.”
The fellowships will be awarded to historically underrepresented voices in curation. It offers fellows support for realizing work developed in their time at the University for up to a year.
A committee comprised of faculty, staff, and curatorial advisers has already named Ali Rosa-Solas the inaugural fellow.
“This award will support an exciting direction in my curatorial practice, and will provide the resources necessary to devise programming at the Abrons Arts Center that is responsive to the prismatic histories of the Lower East Side, in partnership with community members,” Rosa-Solas told the University Newsletter. “The fellowship is a testament to ICPP’s vision of curatorial practice as a civic practice, and of the program’s demonstrated commitment to supporting early career curators at a critical stage of their professional development.”
Two other leadership fellows in the program’s class of 2019 will be named in the next academic year. The fellowship is a part of an effort by the program to embolden the voices of historically underrepresented groups in the profession.
The forums supported by the grant will discuss traditional dance forms and exchange sub-Saharan art.
“This grant is a recognition of the crucial role the arts play at Wesleyan,” University President Michael Roth ’78 told the University Newsletter. “The Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance supports an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach to performance, which has an impact far beyond campus.”
The Ford Foundation, established by the son of the car magnate Henry Ford and financed by his estate, is one of the wealthiest charitable foundations with an endowment over $10 billion. The organization hands out roughly $500 million in grants annually, according to the foundation’s website.
The foundation’s grant was awarded to ICPP for creativity and free expression. Other grant areas include civic engagement and government, gender, racial, and ethnic justice, youth opportunity and learning, inclusive economies, internet freedom, and equitable development.
“For the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance to advance diversity in the field through a Diversity Fellowship program, curatorial mini intensives, and a Global Curatorial Forum,” the foundation’s grant database says.
“We believe that social movements are built upon individual leadership, strong institutions, and innovative, often high-risk ideas,” the foundation says. “Our mission has been to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.”
Mason Mandell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @MasonMandell.