The Arts and Culture Advocacy Program’s (ACAP) Curatorial Workshops offer a much-needed exchange of expertise in which practitioners can identify tools and strategies for contextualizing difficult works and build support networks to guide them through moments of crisis. Workshops are typically a day-long event and held annually or semi-annually.
Pressures on curators to censor content are invisible but pervasive. They often come from political action groups, from museum administrators who are concerned with pleasing donors and trustees, from artists unwilling to negotiate the presentation of their work, from activist audiences representing positions from across the divided political spectrum, and others.
Arts venues offer an important, and much-needed space where difficult subjects can be explored in all their complexity, but as concerns over backlash mount, so do pressures to avoid the presentation of works that might spark controversy. Today, amid extreme cultural polarization and increasing calls for arts institutions to reckon with inequalities both past and present, the work of presenting and contextualizing artwork is becoming increasingly fraught.