Juilee Decker at far right, standing behind yellow, backlit table; students surrounding; background consisting of projections.

Curatorial Practice

Exhibitions have always been an important part of my research and practice. While my academic training is in art history and I have served as a historical researcher in several capacities, I love developing exhibit experiences for onsite, online, and community-centered engagements.

My training in exhibition and curatorial practices was bolstered though my work as Conservation Program Manager in Cleveland, OH, an incredible opportunity for personal growth, collaboration, and community engagement that led me to see the power of connection—how communities can come together to learn about, care for, and share that which is permanently on view as part of our cultural landscape—the built environment, writ large.

Since earning my Ph.D. in 2003, however, I have come to work more with communities through exhibitions and public history practice. Much of this work was done at Georgetown College in Georgetown, KY (from 2004-2014). As chair of the Art Department, I oversaw all curriculum in art studio, art history, curatorial and public history; all academic advising, and all gallery practices from 2006 through 2014. Over these years, our department mounted more than 120 exhibitions in the three and one-half gallery spaces (exhibit spaces were in such demand, we co-opted a closet, beginning in 2012). I am forever grateful to the gallery staff who enabled us to pull off such an enriching, engaging, and forever-ambitious slate of exhibitions and experiences over my tenure at Georgetown. Many times I was complimented that what we did was magnificent and brought such meaning and purpose to exhibition-making in the Bluegrass. It was a true team effort. Thank you!

Upon coming to Rochester Institute of Technology in 2014, my breadth and depth of exhibition practice shifted—from a collaborative effort that nurtured a town and region in the South to occasional endeavors mounted at one of the exhibition spaces on our campus or, beginning in 2017, in Rochester, that were one of many opportunities afforded the robust arts and culture communities here.

In the Fall 2020, thanks to the generosity of Art Bridges, I have co-curated an installation of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s Untitled (L.A.) which is on view at RIT’s City Art Space from October 22, 2020 – February 21, 2021. The work is jointly owned by Art Bridges and Crystal Bridges Museum of Art. John Aasp and I collaborated to create a series of public-facing events to celebrate the work and to convene conversations about the artist, his work, and the contexts—then, and now in our COVID times. Details and some photographs are included below.

Below is a gallery of images that give a snapshot of my teaching practice in exhibitions and visitor engagement from 2004–present.

Below is a list of exhibitions that I have curated, co-curated, or overseen since 2004. All of these are onsite exhibitions, with digital elements linked as well.

  • Fall 2021, site host with Christine Kray, Hostile Terrain 94, a global pop-up exhibition focused on undocumented migration. Exhibition on view through January 11, 2022. Learn more: http://tinyurl.com/HT94RIT and view the AR experience here: http://tinyurl.com/HT94RITar
    • Screening of Border South film, November 3, 2021
    • “Gathering Thoughts: Reflections on Hostile Terrain 94,” November 17, 2021
  • 2020-2021, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, on loan from Art Bridges and Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, and on display at RIT City Art Space through February 2021. https://crystalbridges.org/blog/welcoming-felix-gonzalez-torress-untitled-l-a/. With this installation, during COVID, my collaborator John Aasp and I organized a series of virtual discussions and Q&As about the artist and artwork are free, open to the public, and listed below.
    • Thursday, November 12, 2020: Our first event was a lecture by Niko Vicario,, author and assistant professor of art and art history at Amherst College, followed by a Q&A. This event provided an overview for that audience and all subsequent audiences. All recordings were made available via YouTube shortly after the event. View here: https://youtu.be/QrX9QyExy1U
    • Tuesday, December 1, 2020: Our second event was a panel discussion held on World AIDS Day and Day Without Art. We intentionally chose this date to connect the work of Félix González-Torres and AIDS with historical context and local efforts using art and community engagement to maintain awareness. The panel featured Evelyn Bailey (Out Alliance), Tamar Carroll (RIT History Department faculty and AIDS researcher), Jackson Davidow (MIT Architecture faculty) and Thomas Warfield, (community organizer and RIT faculty). View here.
    • January 2021 @ TBA, a virtual celebration of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, hosted by the Bass Museum
    • Thursday, February 11, 2021: “From Exclusion to Inclusion,” Our third event was highly interaction in three parts: introductory commentary by Joshua Chambers-Letson, professor of performance studies at Northwestern University, which was followed by a call-and-response interaction with attendees., some of whom had prepared statements in advance which they shared with the online audience. The event was enhanced by visual notetaking by visual artist Kelly Kingman who illustrated the evening’s conversation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcSghYQhLNk&t=216s
  • 2019-2020 Crafting Democracy. See full information here.
  • October 2015—ongoing, The Stories They Tell online and onsite exhibition in The Wallace Center created as a collaboration between RIT Archive Collections and MUSE 359 Cultural Informatics course. See https://ritarchives.omeka.net/.Fall 2017, coordinating curator, Because of Women Like Her: Winning the Vote in New York State, RIT instance of traveling show. On view: Sunken Gallery, RIT libraries, October 24-November 30, 2017.
  • Spring 2017, co-curator with Rochester Area Suffrage Centennial Alliance, Because of Women Like Her: Winning the Vote in New York State. On view June 2-October 14, 2017. http://rocsuffrage.org. See interview conducted on July 20, 2017 here: http://humanitiesny.org/interview-womens-suffrage-history-in-rochester/
  • Fall 2016, co-curator with Jody Sidlauskas, Charting One’s Course: The History of Individualized Education at RIT, RIT Museum, The Wallace Center, Rochester Institute of Technology. On view November 30, 2016-April 17, 2017. In the spring 2016, I facilitated digital exhibition Charting One’s Course: A History of Individualized Education at RIT. For timeline, see http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/637072/Charting-Ones-Course-The-History-of-Individualized-Education-at-RIT/ For website, see https://ritsois.wordpress.com/ Onsite exhibition curated in the Fall 2016.
  • Spring 2016, co-curator with Rebecca Edwards and Michael Brown, When Rochester Was Royal: Professional Basketball in Rochester, 1945-1957. On view: Sunken Gallery, The Wallace Center, Rochester Institute of Technology, March 29-April 22, 2016. Publicity mentions in local newspapers along with two tv spots: Live footage of exhibition, Time Warner Cable, air date, April 21, 2016
    http://www.twcnews.com/nys/rochester/news/2016/04/21/rochester-royals-nba-championship.html  and on air guest of Rebecca Leclair, WHAC 10, CBS affiliate, air date, April 17, 2016, https://youtu.be/pvDMFWujTa8.
  • January 2015—Summer 2016, Collaborator with Shaun Foster and David Halbstein (faculty in the College of Art & Design, RIT) in preparing parallel website and app for the walking tour associated with the National Susan B Anthony House & Museum. See http://sbawalkingtour.weebly.com. Walking tour app released in Beta on Android Spring 2015; full release on Google Play, summer 2016.
  • Fall 2015, co-curator with RIT Museum Studies faculty, Kate Gleason, Visionary: A Tribute on Her 150th Birthday, Sunken Gallery, The Wallace Center, Rochester Institute of Technology. On view November 19-December 18, 2015. Kate Gleason (1865-1933) was an entrepreneur and innovator who became internationally recognized. Her interests were wide-ranging, spanning the fields of engineering, manufacturing, banking, and building. Directed digital and all visitor engagement practices, linked here: https://kates150th.wordpress.com/.
  • 2014-2015, co-curator with RIT Museum Studies faculty, Resistance, Rebellion, & Renewal: Narratives of Progress and Poverty, RIT Museum, The Wallace Center, Rochester Institute of Technology. On view April 9-October 10, 2015. Exhibition examines more than 100 years of Rochester’s history to illuminate the co-existence of wealth and progress in Rochester with poverty and lack of opportunity throughout three separate periods, 1913, 1964, and the present day. In addition to co-curating, I brought this project into the classroom by developing an entire module of my course, Visitor Engagement & Museum Technologies, focusing on this exhibition and directed digital and all visitor engagement practices, linked here: https://progressandpovertyrochester.wordpress.com/.
  • 2010-2012, co-curator with Laura Stewart, A Passionate Pursuit: The Milward Collection at the Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery, Georgetown College. On view March 2 – April 20, 2012. Selected 82 works from a collection of more than 1000 British paintings and prints and two-dozen French animalier bronzes. Authored exhibition catalogue essay and edited all contributions. Developed and taught undergraduate seminar in the Spring 2012 in conjunction with the exhibition. Press mention: https://www.kentucky.com/entertainment/visual-arts/article44159985.html; Achieved print presence for exhibition in Fine Art Connoisseur.
  • June 2010, Virginia Woolf and the Natural World, a contemporary art and antiquarian book exhibit at Georgetown College held in conjunction with the 20th Annual International Woolf Conference, proceedings published by Clemson University Press.
  • 2006-2014, as chair of the Art Department, I oversaw more than 120 exhibitions in the three and one-half gallery spaces. To view the galleries, click here.

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