More than enough white curators?

On the “A” w/Souleo

Souleo - | 1/30/2014, 6 a.m.
Professional curators respond to a new diversity initiative aimed at increasing diversity at major U.S. museums.
Dexter Wimberly Hiroki Kobayashi

“There are a number of midsize and small museums doing terrific programming with teenagers. So I think it would be great if the Mellon Foundation were also looking at these institutions and working on smaller budgets to support their practices so that fifteen to twenty years from now we won’t have this conversation,” said Wiggers.

Dexter Wimberly, independent contemporary art curator and entrepreneur, posits that institutions take it one step further to create programs that support the development of independent curators. Outside of a brief position as director of communications for The Museum for African Art (where according to him most of the staff were not African-American or African) Wimberly has not held an in-house position at a museum. Still he has successfully collaborated with various institutions and galleries such as The Museum of the Contemporary African Diasporan Arts and Driscoll Babcock Galleries. In this capacity he has opted not to wait for the museum system to change but instead is forging his own curatorial path and pushing diversity into the conversation.

“Museums have to look outside their walls and collaborate with people that are not their employees,” he argued. “I realize some will feel threatened by that. Meanwhile some museums do seek independent curators but those collaborators frequently look like curators that they already have on staff, so that doesn’t solve the problem or create more diversity. There needs to be a conscious decision to developing relationships with independent curators of all cultural backgrounds to see what the possibilities are.”



The weekly column, On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture and entertainment scene in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company, Souleo Enterprises, LLC.