State Street District

The Ann Arbor State Street District Neighborhood Association assists in planning for the future to provide a clean, safe, and vital neighborhood. The State Street District is home to the Ann Arbor Art Fair.

Free UMMA Event: Curatorial Dilemmas

Did you know that the University of Michigan Museum of Art puts on FREE events almost every day of the week? I didn’t, but as soon as I discovered this, I had to check it out. They have a variety of events each week that not only educate you on the process behind Museum production, but also knowledge on the stories behind the exhibits. Understanding the curation in the representation of a culture, an artist, artifacts, etc. will help YOU as the Museum attendee learn the most from the experience.  

    The event, Curatorial Dilemmas: Representing Africa at UMMA with Pamela McClusky was the second program in a series of three comprised of different curators from Museums around the country. Pamela McClusky came from the Seattle Art Museum where she is the curator of African and Oceanic art. McClusky focused on connecting artworks and cultures while installing the African, Australian and textile galleries. Pamela states, 

“It’s a chance to rethink how we present [the artwork] with entirely new interpretations.”  Negative stereotypes are often associated with Africa, but that is not an accurate representation. She goes on to say, “So many people think of Africa as alien, but there are so many familiar elements — and look at how it interacts with the rest of the collections.” 

Pamela McClusky pairs a visual presentation with her lecture to depict images that help illustrate her points of discussion.

Pamela McClusky pairs a visual presentation with her lecture to depict images that help illustrate her points of discussion.

    Pamela McClusky starts the presentation by telling more about her travels and interactions with the people of Africa. She has taken on the responsibility to properly educate her audience by curating African art and in doing so she must create the ideal art installation. In her lecture she discusses how she feels her job is an opportunity and an obligation to bring awareness to those who attend the Museum on the most accurate representation of the culture.  

    While discussing the accuracy in representing Africa, Pamela talks about Peter DiCampo, a photojournalist and humanitarian. DiCampo started the What Went Wrong Foundation in hopes to reframe the conversation on foreign aid through in-depth photojournalism, crowdsourced reports, and data visualization. DiCampo’s work is relevant to Museum curators who are working to educate their audiences on the reality of the continent. At one point in the lecture Pamela discusses how difficult it can be to witness Museum guests underappreciating or not understanding the lives behind this artwork. The cultural story needs to be better represented and the artwork needs to be known in order to truly be curated.  

This event is just one of many put on by UMMA and they are all FREE. Take the time to visit your local Museum and learn more about the processes behind the exhibits. You can gain important knowledge, meet interesting people, make valuable connections, and get inspired. Visit to keep up with their FREE and educational events.  

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