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Emerging Curators Retreat

The Emerging Curators Retreat is the first of its kind at Otis College of Art and Design. The program aims to attract emerging, talented, and diverse individuals looking to advance their artistic and curatorial skills. Participants will engage with the local art community and advance their curatorial careers through a series of talks, conversations, and presentations from professional curators, artists, and thinkers, as well through visits to museums, galleries, studios, and curators. This retreat will focus specifically on Los Angeles’ local art scene. Conversations will be facilitated by the College’s staff and other professional curators.

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If you would like to nominate someone within your community for this program, please complete a Summer Programs Nomination Form and our office will reach out to them with your nomination.

Dates and Fees

The program will take place May 22 - June 4, 2019, at Otis College of Art and Design. Priority applications are due by January 30, 2019 to be considered for a fellowship. Applications will remain open and notifications of acceptance will be sent on a regualrly after the priority deadline until the start of the program. There is no application fee.

The fee to attend the program is $2,500, which includes room and board. There are limited fellowships available for the program. To be considered for a fellowships you must complete your application by the priority deadline of January 30, 2019. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out via email in March. A deposit is required to secure your spot in the retreat after notifications go out.


Applications are now open! Please click the apply now button below to begin your application. You are able to save your application and return to it at anytime before the application deadline. Sign up to be notified of additional information regarding the Emerging Curators Retreat. 



Confirmed Visiting Curators and Guests for Summer 2019

Our staff are busy planning a number of visiting curators and guests for the Emerging Curators Retreat this year. Speakers will be added as they become confirmed for 2019. Please review the previous visiting curators and guest list to gather a sense of the type of programing to anticipate in 2019.

Jeffrey Deitch

Jeffrey DeitchJeffrey Deitch has been involved with modern and contemporary art for nearly fifty years as an artist, writer, curator, dealer, and advisor. Deitch founded Deitch Projects, the New York gallery which operated from 1996-2010 that presented more than two hundred-fifty projects by artists from thirty-three countries. Deitch has now reestablished his art advisory office and exhibition program in New York. For the past 4 years, Deitch has curated special exhibitions with Larry Gagosian during Art Basel Miami Beach. Deitch opened a Los Angeles gallery in September 2018.

Anne Ellegood

Anne EllegoodAnne Ellegood has been the Senior Curator at the Hammer Museum since 2009. Previously, she was Curator of Contemporary Art at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. and from 1998-2003, she was the Associate Curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. In addition to organizing exhibitions and building the collection, she oversees the Hammer Projects series and the Public Engagement program. Ellegood recently organized the first North American retrospective of the work of Jimmie Durham, which opened at the Hammer in January 2017 and traveled to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, and the Remai Modern in Saskatoon. She co-curated, with Erin Christovale, the Hammer's recent biennial of Los Angeles-based artists, Made in L.A. 2018. Past group exhibitions organized for the Hammer include Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology (2014), which explored the overlapping strategies of appropriation and institutional critique in American art, and All of this and nothing (2011), featuring the work of fourteen international artists, among others. Her recent solo shows include those with Kevin Beasley, Sam Falls, Charles Gaines, Judith Hopf, John Outterbridge, Pedro Reyes, Frances Upritchard, Tschabala Self, and Lily van der Stokker.

Ciara Ennis

Ciara EnnisSince 2007, Ciara Ennis has taught and been director and curator of Pitzer College Art Galleries. While there she has curated dozens of exhibitions including Racial Imaginary, a visual art corollary to the book of the same name by MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine, as well as exhibitions by Andrea Bowers, Mark Dion, and Charles Gaines. Last year she co-curated Juan Downey: Radiant Nature (2017) as part of the Getty Pacific Standard Time’s far-reaching initiative exploring the relationship between Los Angeles and Latin America. While Downey is primarily known for his post-1975 pioneering video work, this exhibition focused on three early bodies of work: Electronic Sculptures, Happenings & Performances, and Life Cycle installations, made between 1967 and 1974, which had not been seen or experienced for decades. This exhibition was followed by, Manifesto: A Moderate Proposal (2018) for which she received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additionally, Ennis has been a panelist/moderator/guest speaker for the American Studies Association, the International Sculpture Conference, the AAMG conference, the California Community Foundation, the Rijksakademie Amsterdam, and most recently, the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her curatorial and scholarly practice explores the intersection of art, politics, and activism in contemporary museum and exhibition practice. She has a MA (RCA) from the Royal College of Art in Contemporary Curatorial Practice and a PhD in Cultural Studies/Museum Studies from Claremont Graduate University.

Jori Finkel

Jori FinkelJori Finkel is a leading cultural journalist who covers art from Los Angeles for The New York Times and The Art Newspaper. Her writing has also appeared in ARTnews, Art in America, FlashArt and W magazine. For the L.A. public television station KCET, she developed the acclaimed 2018 documentary Artist and Mother, which looks at four California artists who dare to make motherhood a part of their art. This summer Prestel is publishing her book of artist interviews, IT SPEAKS TO ME: Art That Inspires Artists, which features 50 leading artists on museum pieces of their choice. She lectures on topics ranging from the birth of the photography market to the legacy of second-wave feminism.

Amanda Hunt

Allegra PesentiAmanda Hunt is Director of Education and Curator of Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and co-curator of the 2019 Desert X Biennial in Palm Springs. Past appointments include Associate Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, and Curator at LA><ART, Los Angeles, where she helped coordinate the 2012 Pacific Standard Time Public Art and Performance Festival for The Getty Research Institute, and Made in L. A. 2012, the Hammer Museum’s first Los Angeles biennial. At the Studio Museum, Hunt produced exhibitions including A Constellation, Black Cowboy, and in 2016 commissioned inHarlem: Kevin Beasley, Simone Leigh, Kori Newkirk, Rudy Shepherd, a public sculpture initiative in partnership with the New York City Parks Department. Hunt was also the first non-regional curator of the Portland Biennial of Contemporary Art in 2014. She obtained her masters in curatorial practice from California College of the Arts.

Marco Rios

Marco RiosMarco Rios is a Los Angeles-based artist who works in sculpture, photography, video, and performance. He received his M.F.A. in Studio Art from the University of California, Irvine and his undergraduate degree from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. His work has been exhibited at LACMA; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions; Artists Space, New York; Estacion, Tijuana, Mexico. Previous exhibitions include Death's Boutique at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Mixed Signals, a traveling exhibition organized by ICI; This is Killing Me, a group exhibition at MASS MoCA; Despair Beyond Despair, a solo project at LAX ART, Los Angeles; and the 2008 California Biennial at Orange County Museum of Art. Recently, he had his third solo exhibition “S” is for Sincere formerly formally “F” is for Fake at Simon Preston Gallery, NY; a solo project Anatomy of an Absent Artist at Santa Monica Museum, CA; and an outdoor public project at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. In 2007, he was a recipient of the California Community Foundation Fellowship. In 2008, he was selected as one of the James Irvine Foundation Visions from the New California awardees, and in 2009 awarded an ARC grant from The Durfee Foundation. Most recently he was awarded an Art Matters grant in 2016. Marco Rios is represented by Simon Preston Gallery in NY and has been Gallery Curator of The Luckman Gallery at The Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State LA since 2010.

Paul Schimmel

Paul SchimmelPaul Schimmel is an independent curator of contemporary art, formerly the Chief Curator for 9 years at the Newport Harbor Art Museum (now the Orange County Museum of Art), Chief Curator for 22 years at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, and Founding Partner of Hauser Wirth & Schimmel. Paul has most recently written for a Jean-Michel Basquiat show at Fondation Louis Vuittion as well as a Kazuo Shiraga exhibition at the Amagasaki City Culture Promotion Foundation. Notable themed exhibitions include: Revolution in the Making, 1947-2016; Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949-1962; Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981; Ecstasy: In and About Altered States; Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object, 1949-1979; Helter Skelter: Los Angeles Art in the 1990s; and The Interpretive Link: Abstract Surrealism into Abstract Expressionism, Works on Paper 1938-48. Notable monographic exhibitions include: Ken Price, Takashi Murakami, Ed Ruscha, Robert Rauschenberg, Willem de Kooning, Charles Ray, Sigmar Polke, Gunther Forg, Chris Burden, Robert Gober, and Paul McCarthy.

Hamza Walker

Hamza WalkerSince September 2016, Hamza Walker has been executive director of LAXART in Los Angeles, one of the city’s most important platforms for emerging and under-recognized contemporary art. Prior to joining LAXART, Walker served as associate curator and director of education at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago and cocurated (with Aram Moshayedi) the 2016 edition of the Hammer Museum’s “Made in LA.” Walker continues to teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as an adjunct professor. Recent exhibitions Walker has organized include Reconstitution at LAXART (with Catherine Taft; 2017), “A Painting Is A Painting Isn’t A Painting” (2015) at San Francisco’s KADIST; “Wadada Leo Smith, Ankhrasmation: The Language Scores 1967 - 2015” at the Renaissance Society (with John Corbett; 2015), “Teen Paranormal Romance” (2014), and “Suicide Narcissus” (2013), two group exhibitions, also at the Ren; and “Black Is, Black Ain’t” at the Renaissance Society (2008).

Previous Visiting Curators and Guests

Otis College is proud to have hosted the following visiting curators and guest for the Emerging Curators Retreat in the past. Please use this list as a guide on what to expect for our up coming program this year.

Bruce W. Ferguson

Bruce FergusonBruce W. Ferguson is a proven arts and academic leader with extensive experience in entrepreneurial leadership and institutional development, with a demonstrated passion for facilitating artists and intellectuals and their work and research. Bruce is devoted to producing institutional measures to generate new works of art, new knowledge, and new forms of intellectual presentation. He has a lifetime engagement in the arts and academia. Bruce has specialized in discovering and nurturing artistic talent internationally; creating arts organizations from the ground up; and working with boards and cultural partners. Bruce has been an external advisor to the University of Cincinnati, University of Toronto, Penn State, and ALBA in Beirut as well as Montclair University in New Jersey. Bruce continues to actively publish, maintain relations with colleagues worldwide and be involved on institutional boards i.e. The Drawing Center in New York City, the Bergen Assembly in Norway and SAHA, an artists’ foundation in Istanbul, Turkey. Most recently, in 2012, Bruce was Distinguished Professor at the Institute of Arts and Humanities at Penn State in Pennsylvania, a consultant to the Bergen Triennial in Norway, a consultant to a new curriculum at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts (ALBA) in Beirut, Lebanon as well as to the Department of Arts and Design at Montclair University in New Jersey. Bruce is currently the President of Otis College of Art and Design.

Ceci Moss

Ceci MossCeci Moss is a curator, writer and educator based in Los Angeles. She is the founder of Gas, a mobile, autonomous, experimental and networked platform for contemporary art located in a truck gallery parked around Los Angeles and online. She has a MA and PhD in Comparative Literature from New York University, and a BA in History and Sociology from U.C. Berkeley. Her academic research addresses contemporary internet-based art practice and network culture. Her writing has appeared in Rhizome, Art in America, ArtAsiaPacific, Artforum, The Wire, CURA, New Media & Society and various art catalogs. Previously, she was Assistant Curator of Visual Arts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Senior Editor of the art and technology non-profit arts organization Rhizome, and Special Projects Coordinator at the New Museum. She has held teaching positions at Scripps College, the San Francisco Art Institute and New York University.

Hamza Walker

Hamza WalkerSince September 2016, Hamza Walker has been executive director of LAXART in Los Angeles, one of the city’s most important platforms for emerging and under-recognized contemporary art. Prior to joining LAXART, Walker served as associate curator and director of education at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago and cocurated (with Aram Moshayedi) the 2016 edition of the Hammer Museum’s “Made in LA.” Walker continues to teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as an adjunct professor. Recent exhibitions Walker has organized include Reconstitution at LAXART (with Catherine Taft; 2017), “A Painting Is A Painting Isn’t A Painting” (2015) at San Francisco’s KADIST; “Wadada Leo Smith, Ankhrasmation: The Language Scores 1967 - 2015” at the Renaissance Society (with John Corbett; 2015), “Teen Paranormal Romance” (2014), and “Suicide Narcissus” (2013), two group exhibitions, also at the Ren; and “Black Is, Black Ain’t” at the Renaissance Society (2008).

Jamillah James

Jamilla JamesJamillah James is Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). Previously, she was Assistant Curator at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and organized exhibitions and programs for Art + Practice in Leimert Park. In Los Angeles, James has organized the first solo institutional presentations of artists Abigail DeVille, Sarah Cain, Simone Leigh, Alex Da Corte, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Charles Gaines. James has held curatorial positions at the Studio Museum in Harlem and Queens Museum, and has independently organized exhibitions, performances, and screenings throughout the US and Canada since 2004. She is currently working on major presentations of B. Wurtz, the artist’s first American survey (2018); Nayland Blake, his first solo museum exhibition in Los Angeles (2019); and solo projects with Rafa Esparza, Maryam Jafri, and Lucas Blalock. James’s writings have been included in Artforum and the International Review of African American Art, in addition to exhibition catalogues for the ICA LA, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Nasher Museum at Duke University, Chapel Hill, N.C.; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, among others. She is an adjunct professor in the Graduate Art Department at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and regularly lectures on curating, contemporary art, and professional development for artists at various colleges and institutions across the country.  

Kate McNamara

Kate McNamaraKate McNamara is the Director of Galleries at Otis College of Art and Design, where she has organized solo exhibitions with Polly Apfelbaum and Anna Craycroft. She recently held the position of Director and Chief Curator at the Boston University Art Gallery where she organized exhibitions with Leidy Churchman, Destroy All Monsters, Vlatka Horvat, among others. McNamara is also co-founder of Cleopatra's, a Brooklyn-based project space founded in 2008. McNamara has held curatorial positions at MoMA PS1, New York; AIR Antwerpen, Belgium; and Participant, INC., New York. She received her M.A. at The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and a B.A. with a Curatorial Concentration from Hampshire College, MA.

*Please note: due to extenuating circumstances, Kate McNamara will not be able to attend the program. She is, however, co-directing the content for the Emerging Curarors Retreat.

Lauren Mackler

Lauren MacklerLauren Mackler is a French / American curator and graphic designer based in Los Angeles. In 2010, she founded Public Fiction, a forum to stage exhibitions and performances by contemporary artists. A year later she launched a quarterly journal with the same mission in print. Mackler has organized exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA); The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Artissima LIDO, Turin, Italy; and Frieze Projects, New York amongst others. She is currently the Managing Editor of SubLevel, CalArts’ literary magazine coming out of the School of Critical Studies, and was recently Visiting Lecturer at the School of Visual Arts in New York, the Graduate Department of Art at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and Otis College of Art and Design. Mackler is a contributor to various periodicals, catalogues, and artist monographs. In 2015, she was awarded the Rome Prize by the American Academy in Rome. Mackler holds degrees from New York University and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Naima Keith

Lauren MacklerNaima J. Keith joined the California African American Museum (CAAM) in 2016 to guide the curatorial and education departments as well as marketing and communications. She is the 2017 recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize in recognition of her contributions to the field of African American art history. Previously an associate curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2011–16), her notable exhibitions include: Rodney McMillian: Views of Main Street (2016), Artists in Residence 2014–2015 (2015), Samuel Levi Jones: Unbound (2015), Titus Kaphar (2014), Glenn Kaino (2014), and Robert Pruitt (2013), The Shadows Took Shape (co-curated with Zoe Whitley, 2013), Fore (co-curated with Lauren Haynes and Thomas J. Lax, 2012. Between 2008–11, Keith worked as a curatorial fellow at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, serving as the primary contact for the groundbreaking exhibition Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980, organized by guest curator Kellie Jones. She has lectured at the Zoma Contemporary Art Center, Columbia University, The Museum of Modern Art, LACMA, USC, MCA Denver, and Brooklyn Museum. Her essays have been featured in publications for The Studio Museum in Harlem, Hammer Museum, Perez Art Museum Miami, LAXART, MoMA PS1, and NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art. Keith holds degrees from Spelman College and UCLA and is a proud native of Los Angeles.


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