A lack of curators in PEI has left some arts organizations without the managerial expertise and programming knowledge needed to organize and design art exhibitions.
The Exhibition Curation and Management Training Program was designed to alleviate a shortage of curators, festival organizers, and gallery managers in the P.E.I.’s Visual Arts industry.
CreativePEI sought out individuals with an interest in exhibition management to take part in a month-long course delivered by Pan Wendt (Curator, Confederation Center of the Arts) and Becka Viau (Founder, Art In The Open). The six-part program featured guest lectures by Evelyn Bradley and Jane Affleck on topics like inclusion, accessibility, and ethics.
Pan alongside Viau are founding members of Art in The Open, an open-air arts exhibition that takes place at a number of locations around downtown Charlottetown.
Wendt is one of P.E.I. ‘s only full-time curators. He said curators are largely underfunded and widely misunderstood by most people. He said people may not be aware that curators fill a number of managerial roles within an organization.
“It’s one of those jobs that’s basically never ending. It’s like being an editor in a way. It’s my job to be aware and be responsible for the content.”
“The goal is ultimately to create full-time positions for Art In The Open and to have jobs for local curators other than myself. The problem is if one or a few key people leave, the whole thing has the potential to fall apart, that’s why we need more curators,” said Wendt.
Three interns from the Exhibition Curation and Management Program were accepted into Art in the Open’s 2021 Curatorial Internship where they received significant experience in the organization and management of Art In The Open.
Andrew Carins is an artist from PEI who took part in the program; he said the program opened the door to thinking like a curator.
“I met a lot of people through the program that I still connect with to talk about curation.”
“The connections that were made through meeting people at Art In The Open helped me find new opportunities.”
One of those opportunities included curating a show at the concourse in the Confederation Centre of the Arts later this year, something that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the networking through his participation in the program.
An influx of new curators is expected to have a positive effect on the arts community in P.E.I.