What’s It Like to Be a Design Curator?

Written by
November 7, 2012

When fall comes around, so do great mem­o­ries of fresh school sup­plies and fun field trips. Tag along with stu­dents from Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy on a recent men­tor­ship design out­ing in this recap by our guest blog­ger, Jarrod Joplin:
On an early autumn day in September, AIGA Colorado, the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) and the Denver Art Museum (DAM) spon­sored a group of fresh­men and sopho­mores from Denver’s newly formed Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy to tour the Now Boarding: Fentress Airports + the Architecture of Flight exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. The goal of the field trip was to learn what it’s like to be a design cura­tor. To that end, the stu­dents were warmly wel­comed by Darrin Alfred, the museum’s asso­ciate cura­tor of Architecture, Design & Graphics. Darrin shared insights about the pro­fes­sion of curat­ing and gave an overview of the exhi­bi­tion and how it was put together.


Students toured the gal­leries and explored the roles that archi­tec­ture and design play in soci­ety. They nav­i­gated each space, tak­ing in the inter­pre­tive infor­ma­tion and mak­ing notes. You could see their curios­ity open up as the exhi­bi­tion chal­lenged their pre­con­ceived notions about curat­ing con­tent. Overhearing their con­ver­sa­tions, many of the adjec­tives used to describe the exhi­bi­tion were “cool,” “inter­est­ing,” and “I never thought about that!” As we were leav­ing the exhi­bi­tion, a teacher said, “I believe they are really start­ing to get it!” And ‘get­ting it’ is good, because every­thing the stu­dents learned on the trip will inform deci­sions they’ll make as cura­tors of their own art gallery space this year at Kunsmiller.


Overall, it was a great men­tor­ship expe­ri­ence, forg­ing a rela­tion­ship between Colorado cre­atives, stu­dents, and fac­ulty. Special thanks to Darrin Alfred and Amber Atkins for help­ing to make the trip a success!


Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy 
is a pub­lic mag­net school and is one of the few pub­lic arts schools serv­ing stu­dents in grades K-12. Classroom envi­ron­ments are based on research that includes active learn­ing, expe­ri­en­tial inves­ti­ga­tion, and inte­grated arts.

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