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Curating Imaginature: A Contemporary Art Exhibition at the Kirkland Arts Center

Master’s Project by Grant Barber (2015)

This project concentrated on the curation and development of Imaginature, a contemporary art exhibit, at the Kirkland Arts Center Gallery in completion of the Emerging Curator Initiative. Imaginature was curated according to the standard practices of the Kirkland Arts Center, the expectations of the Emerging Curator Initiative, and the best practices of museum exhibition. This twenty-nine piece exhibit included paintings, prints, encaustics, and mixed media sculptures examining the interplay between nature and imagination; a motif that was previously unexplored at KAC. The exhibit aided the KAC Gallery in broadening their audience by providing novel programming, child-friendly design, educational programming, and a space to foster creativity and imagination in the community.

The exhibit also included a felt wall intended to foster imagination by having visitors assemble monsters out of precut felt monster body parts and create a backstory detailing the history of their monster. Furthermore, an artist workshop (Surreally Natural) associated with Imaginature was taught by two of the exhibiting artists, Justin Gibbens and Renee Adams, and used sculpture and watercolor to explore the topic of nature in imaginative ways. An additional exhibition component was The Emerging Curator blog, which documented the exhibition curation process.
The exhibit was a success based on attendance numbers at the Opening Reception and throughout the duration of the show. Further success was indicated by the extensive use of the felt wall interactive by visitors. Surreally Natural brought in new visitors to Kirkland Arts Center.


Keywords: project, exhibitions, emerging curator, ECI


Barber, G. (2015). Curating Imaginature: A Contemporary Art Exhibition at the Kirkland Arts Center. Unpublished master’s project, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.