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ArtsChat Ohio: Riffe Gallery Call for Curatorial Proposals

ArtsChat Ohio is an audio blog bringing you the latest news and updates from Ohio Arts Council staff members. These conversations are recorded to be enjoyed using the audio player below. A transcript and show notes are also included. 


 Audio transcript edited for clarity.

DONNA: Welcome to another episode of ArtsChat, the Ohio Arts Council's audio blog that brings you the latest news and updates from the Ohio Arts Council staff.

I’m Donna Collins, executive director of the Ohio Arts Council, and I'm here today with Riffe Gallery Director Cat Sheridan. We're going to talk about our latest initiative, the OAC’s Riffe Gallery Call for Curatorial Proposals.

Cat, I’m so glad to be with you!

CAT: Same, Donna, hi. Hello, listeners!

You know, I'd love to start our conversation by centering the importance of this opportunity. This call for proposals is the first of its kind for us at the OAC Riffe Gallery, and it's our intention to create a model that can expand the impact, equity, and reach of Ohio's artists and curatorial voices.

DONNA: Cat, I'm so excited about this opportunity. Your innovation and vision for making opportunities for artists and curators is really out of this world.

But I'm beginning to think, as I read the curatorial call, what if someone identifies as both an artist and a curator? Or what if an administrator or an individual or a group of folks who have a passion for Ohio art and Ohio artists wanted to propose an exhibition? What then?

CAT: That's a great question, Donna. We're interested in hearing from any of Ohio's emerging or established curators. Artists and folks embedded in the arts organizations and institutions have a really unique perspectives and networks that they can leverage into curatorial concepts.

And artist-curators are welcome to apply as well. But one thing to keep in mind for that, if you are an artist and curator, is that, within this, you'll fill the role of curator exclusively. And can't exhibit your own work.

Another important point to home in on is that we're not looking for a fully formed exhibition in this proposal. So, think about this proposal as really a refining process. We're going to go through that with you. Should your proposal be selected, this is about setting up a really clear vision for an exhibition and getting us enthusiastic about what that is.

DONNA: Okay, Cat. So, it's not a complete exhibition at this point, but there are criteria to consider when drafting the proposal. I think it would be really helpful if you would talk a little bit more about those key items. Get us really excited, and get people writing.

CAT: You got it, Donna. All artists within the exhibition first must be from Ohio, and they should reflect

an intersectional, geographically diverse group within the state. Curators should also be from Ohio and

and they can shape their proposals around media, a topic, a concept, a theme, practice, or a shared experience, or any other kind of relevant lens.

It's important to note the connection of the Ohio Arts Council's Individual Excellence Awards to the Riffe Gallery’s requirement that 20 percent of artists in the final exhibit are Individual Excellence Award recipients. This requirement supports the value of that award and our commitment to supporting Ohio's professional artists.

DONNA: Cat, that all sounds really great. But how could potential curators really find those Individual Excellence Award recipients that align to their concept?

CAT: Perfect segue, Donna. I’m so glad you asked. So, has an entire page dedicated to the call for proposals, where folks can find detailed information about Individual Excellence Award recipients organized by media and genre, as well as a gallery layout, FAQs, a submission checklist, and a link to an informational webinar, as well as our past exhibition archives.

Our most recent exhibitions have resources that include things like a virtual tour, curatorial statements, and links to the exhibition programming that could really help guide and inform the scope of someone's proposal.

DONNA: I'm thinking of our curators and arts administrators embedded in an arts organization or multiple arts organizations across the state. And I'm thrilled that there's a value-add proposition here should their proposal be selected.

For instance, I'm thinking, ‘What a great opportunity to travel the exhibition to their own organization after it shown at the Ohio Arts Council's Riffe Gallery.’ This would increase the audience and opportunities for artists within the exhibition. I guess we just get to keep celebrating the great work of the curator and the artist in more locations!

You know, all this talk about proposals is stirring up some real excitement for me. Could you remind me of the deadline? I’ll be checking in to see how many submissions we received.

CAT: The deadline to submit is midnight on March 11. And we’ll begin jurying right after that. But until then, we have to remain patient.

Oh, and one more thing! We absolutely pay our curators. We are so thrilled to support these creative voices and can’t wait to see what you bring to the table.

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me, Donna, and share your enthusiasm, because I’m excited, too. And thank you all for listening.

Be sure to stay tuned for the next edition of ArtsChat Ohio.

Show Notes

Riffe Gallery Call for Curatorial Proposals:
Ohio Arts Council's Riffe Gallery:
Call for Curatorial Proposals Informational Webinar:
Riffe Gallery Past Exhibition Archive:

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


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