Smart Art: Translating Stories

Sara Torgerson
Arts Editor

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Gallery at the Walters Art Museum (Photo Courtesy of Walters Art Museum)

In the past when I thought about curating, I mainly thought I would research something and then throw some [stuff] together. Well, it’s not that simple, there are many long nights, emails, phone calls, budgeting, disappointments, and victories when curating an exhibit. I enjoy every minute of it. Every curveball, every moment of confusion, every checklist I finalize I love. 

Thank goodness too, to do it I have to sell my soul to college loans and work for free until I’m thirty, but as long as I don’t live in a box, I’m happy! I realize that by going into the museum world I am probably giving up the whole out of work by five, home for dinner by six life, but was that really some thing I ever wanted? Is that something Goucher students want? Is that a life that still exists? It sure doesn’t seem like it in the arts world.

When you walk into the museum you are there to work. You start planning, putting things together, connecting with other museums, and developing a story. The most exciting part of curating is that you are a storyteller. Your job is to find something that you love and translate it into a story that the everyday public can understand and love. In one show you might tell an audience about the obscure friendship between a Persian Historian and a Chinese General, the next you might give a hilarious narrative to flatulence jokes in Medieval Manuscripts.

As a curator, as an art historian you get to bring history and art to life. With your explanation, Moore’s ‘Mother and Child’ in Saint Paul’s cathedral is not only a contemporary rendering of the Madonna but an artist’s deep rumination on life when he is near death. Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas P. Campell, once said something to the effect of: in the art museum you have the opportunity to turn the cold dank interior of a building into a cultural center for education. Curating is just another way to connect, to reach people and to teach them something new. You get to make art accessible to a broader public.

I love art, it is my calling. It’s what I have thought about since I was a little girl sifting through my Crayola crayon box. All I want to do is take my passion and love for the arts and share it with the world. What do you want to share?

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