Young curators immersed in art |

Young curators immersed in art

Stewart Oksenhorn

The six ” Janelle Anderson, Kristi Bowden, Sergio Carrasco, Stella Doble, Ian Fletcher and Max Lord ” have thought about things they probably never considered that go into an art exhibition: the wall text that accompanies each piece, seeking out artists, coming up with a unifying theme for the show.

The result of that half year is Unspoken ______ (pronounced “unspoken blank”), the first exhibition to come out of the Aspen Art Museum’s Young Curators of the Roaring Fork program. Unspoken _______, featuring 33 works by artists ranging in age from 13-21, shows through May 7 in the Hines Room of the Kresge Building at Aspen Meadows. (The hard-to-find room is best accessed from the back; facing the Kresge Building, follow the path to the right, down and behind the building.)

“I’ve been to a lot of art shows, and I’ve never paid attention to the wall titles, or how the pieces are arranged,” said Anderson, a Rifle High School senior and an artist who is planning to study art and English at Fort Lewis College. Now, Anderson said, “I know the people who made the show put it together for a reason.”

The people who plotted Young Curators likewise had a reason for putting the program together ” and part of that reason goes beyond gathering art for an exhibition. In the bigger picture, the Young Curators project immersed the participants in contemporary visual imagery. The mere process of looking at the submitted art ” approximately 50 pieces ” and talking about it with fellow curators might have been the most significant aspect of the program.

“The idea of the program is to empower students to use visual literacy and analysis skills,” said Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, director and chief curator of the Aspen Art Museum, last fall, when Young Curators was instituted. “We want people to feel empowered to have an opinion not just on our exhibitions, but on the increasing visual component of contemporary society. We want to educate people not to just consume what is being put forward, but to ask questions about what they see, and make decisions about images.”

“A lot of times, students have this feeling that contemporary art is unknowable, something not accessible, something that, not having inside knowledge of, they can’t comment on,” said Matthew Thompson, the museum’s assistant curator, who, along with Morley McBride, the museum’s education and public programs coordinator, had hands-on responsibility for the Young Curators program. “This is about getting them to think critically about visual culture.”

For more on the Young Curators of the Roaring Fork program, see the Aspen Times Weekly inside.

Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is

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