Mentoring Curator: Larry Ossei-Mensah
Larry Ossei-Mensah is a Ghanaian-American curator and cultural critic who uses contemporary art and culture as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. He has organized exhibitions and projects with artists at commercial and nonprofit spaces around the globe from, including: Firelei Báez, Ruby Amanze, Hugo McCloud, Brendan Fernandes and Peter Williams. Ossei-Mensah currently serves as the Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at MOCAD in Detroit. He also is a co-founder of the 501c3 ARTNOIR in addition to being a mentor in the New Museum’s incubator program, NEW INC.
Emerging Curator: Kiara Cristina Ventura
Kiara Cristina Ventura is a Dominican-American journalist and independent curator from the Bronx who aims to be a support for emerging artists especially those from underrepresented communities in the art world. Connecting with artists and creating exhibitions with an extensive amount of programs are crucial parts of Ventura’s practice. Ventura graduated with a B.A. in Art History and Journalism at NYU in May 2018. In the past, she has worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cosmopolitan Magazine for Latinas, Art Forum, Grey Art Gallery, Independent Curators International, and the Brooklyn Museum. In July 2018, she began teaching art history classes about modern and contemporary artists of color to combat Euro-centric art history curriculums and make this information accessible to the general public.
Ventura won the BAS Bronx Emerging Curators Open Call which resulted in her most recent exhibition, FOR US. Ventura curated FOR US (March 31 – May 12), a reﬂection of loud unapologetic portraits by 8 young women of color. Artworks speak to the artists’ history, lineage, and pressures of daily lived experience. FOR US was recently reviewed in Art Forum’s Summer 2018 magazine issue.
Ventura created ArtsyWindow as an art blog in 2015 and has expanded it as an art platform that curates exhibitions and programs since. Her ultimate goal is to continue creating inclusive spaces for emerging artists whether through articles, content, or physically through carefully curating creative environments.
“The 21st Century Emerging Curator Program is a rare opportunity nationally. The year-long mentorship has proven to be invaluable for launching careers and bringing a network of curators into the VisArts’ galleries to present artists and curatorial approaches with global perspectives,” says VisArts Gallery Director and Curator Susan Main. Mentor and mentee receive exhibition budgets to develop exceptional curatorial proposals, commission new work, pay artists, provide curatorial stipends, and create innovative programming and exhibition designs.