When I was younger, people often asked, “Your mother is a doctor and your father is an attorney; So what do you want to be?”
“I want to be creative.”
That was my reply each and every time.
For the past week, I’ve featured dynamic women in various fields of creativity. I asked them to submit their “selfies” along with their stories. Now the time has come for my Self(ie) Portrait.
This is my story.
Someone once told me a few years ago that they did not “see” me as a curator. Never mind the fact that I owned a very successful gallery in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago. Also, please ignore that I’ve mounted art shows, written artist statements, and submitted proposals for exhibitions. Completely disregard the fact that I did my best to cultivate a hub of young art collectors. The notion that I was a curator was preposterous!
At first, the insult stung a bit, but then I began to understand why that person may have made that assumption. I am involved in so many different forms of art: I earned my degrees in theatre; I’ve danced professionally and currently teach dance; I have studied and taught painting, photography and art history; I played the upright bass for quite some time before becoming tired of lugging that monstrous instrument around and; I design interiors and textiles.
With all that I have done and all that I do creatively, it’s not possible for me to be a serious curator, right? Besides, isn’t everyone calling themselves a curator these days?
“Oh yes darling, I’m a curator of couture”
“I like to call myself a lifestyle curator”
“I collect and curate shoes”
These are all phrases I’ve heard or read before. Thus, I can understand how some art snobs may feel that the title is being used too loosely.
The word curator, which is derived from Latin’s curare, literally means “take care”. A curator could be a manager of a museum or a keeper of a cultural tradition. A griot could be a considered a curator of stories. The important thing is the person must take care of some aspect of the art (or the history).
Assuming that someone is not a curator because they practice several art forms (visual, performing or otherwise) is an example of poor postulation.
It’s as if a mother isn’t truly a mother because she has five children that she has to take care of. Yet, if she sends four of those children to the Department of Family and Children’s Services, then that would allow her to focus all of her care and love on one child. At that time, she could truly be deserving of the title Mom.
When you look at me, I want you to see a designer, a director, an artist, a dancer, a visionary and yes- even a curator.
The most important thing someone should consider before determining how I should be defined is that I am inexplicably what I’ve always wanted to be: a creative.
Continue to expand your imagination and your gifts and I’ll promise to do the same.