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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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Dates and Fees

The program will take place May 22 - June 4, 2019, at Otis College of Art and Design. All applications are due by January 15, 2019. There is a $20 application fee. The fee to attend the program is $2,500, which includes room and board. Notifications will be sent out via email in early March. A deposit is required to secure your spot in the residency 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. 



Previous Visiting Curators and Guests

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.