It is a wonderful feeling to be able to bring a new group of Hands-On Curators back into the Coe building. After shifting from in-person meetings to a fully virtual format way back in 2020, we are thrilled to introduce a new crew of high school students to the Coe’s collection and the process of curating an exhibition from beginning to end.
This year the Coe is joined by students from across Santa Fe. Cruz Davis-Martinez and Skyler Hraber are both seniors at New Mexico School for the Arts, Tyler Gonzales is a senior at Academy for Technology and the Classics, and Himaja Sunkara is a sophomore at Santa Fe High. This group of engaged, creative, and inspiring students has already begun to immerse themselves in the collection. They have found inspiration in the many miniatures from across the world, how and why different cultures depict animals, the visual power of Northwest Coast form-line painting and drawing, and points of contact between popular culture – movies, music, toys—and pieces from different places and times.
After spending a few sessions getting to know each other and exploring shelf by shelf, the curators have begun to brainstorm through words and imagery in a collaborative format. They are working through their individual ideas, explaining, listening, and researching, on their way to an exhibition narrative. Stay tuned for more as they progress.
Although COVID has caused this program to pivot for two years to virtual or a hybrid of virtual and in-person, the 2022 Hands-On Curatorial Program provides an opportunity for high school students to return to work hands-on with the Coe collection of over 2,300 works of Indigenous art from around the world. Through museum visits and weekly sessions over eight months, the curators learn how to create their own exhibition by selecting and researching objects, creating the exhibition title, writing a catalog, executing the press release, designing and installing the exhibition, and working with the public. Within this program, young curators gain a foundation of skills that they can take anywhere throughout their lives. The participants build their own exhibition from the ground up!