charmed by the charm city
Claire hired me to shake up the exhibitions program back in July of 2007. Thanks to Claire, I managed to risk my life installing giant murals; travel to Germany; and organize shows on transhumanism, comics, historical reenactments, experimental geography, african-american women artists who use narrative, and, well, a bunch of other stuff, too.
Claire transformed AAC; she and I shared a vision for what contemporary art is and how a community arts space ought to present it. She also gave me a level of creative freedom that I quite frankly can't imagine any other institution or E.D. offering.
I can now announce that Claire won't be the only summer departure from AAC: As of August 1, I will be packing up my office as well.
Where the heck am I going? I've been offered (and have very happily accepted) a full time position as Professor of Curatorial Studies and Practice at MICA in Baltimore.
For the new job, I'll be teaching MICA's undergraduate Exhibition Development Seminar--read an article about a previous class project in the Baltimore City Paper here; see the website for the most recent "Open City" EDS exhibit here--and team-teaching the First Year Practicum for MICA's brand-spanking-new MFA in Curatorial Practice.
Both EDS and the new MFA are George Ciscle's babies. If somehow you don't know about George (and I'm not sure how this would be possible), read a little background here.
No small part of my excitement about taking this job comes from having the opportunity to work with--and hopefully learn from--George, whose ideas about both teaching and developing new community arts practices I find challenging and exciting.
At AAC, I've worked extensively with recent MICA graduates as part of our annual SOLOS shows; I've also done crits at MICA over the past few years. I've known that really good things happen at MICA for awhile now, and have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunites I've had to interact with their students. Deciding whether or not to go there was a no-brainer.
What does this mean for AAC? Well, in the short run, less than you might think: While I won't be reporting to work there anymore, I still have shows in development and on the schedule. It looks like I will be bringing at least one of those--a show about images of women in sports titled "She Got Game"--to completion in January as an independent contractor. I'll be working with my suddenly much busier exhibits coordinator Catherine Satterlee to make that happen.
AAC may no longer have my body, but they get to keep my brain for awhile.
I have no doubt that AAC will continue to grow. A new E.D., an expanded budget, a larger staff: This is all on the horizon. I know that our board wants to continue the vision for the organization that Claire forged; new blood can only help propel that process.
So, goodbye Arlington; hello Baltimore! I'm pretty sure I'm going to like it here.
Above: The view from my new office window.