Marjorie Bontemps, a master’s student in the Museum Science and Management (MSM) program, is a 2018-2019 recipient of the Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellowship. This fellowship, which aims to train promising writers and curators by expanding their professional education and experience, is sponsored by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC) in partnership with the Philbrook Museum of Art, TU School of Art, Design & Art History and other arts organizations.
“This fellowship has allowed me to cultivate my art writing by expanding my professional education and experience,” Bontemps said. “I had the opportunity to write about Oklahoma artist and TU art professor Mark Lewis, and I’m looking forward to writing about a contemporary art exhibition by exploring the idea of writing how an art exhibition has evoked the minds of the audience.”
Bontemps said that being in the MSM program at TU with a curatorial/collection track, the experience this fellowship provides will contribute to her future career goal, working as either an independent curator or as a curator at a gallery or museum.
The fellowship is awarded to 12 applicants every two years who have a passion for art, a drive to excel in writing about art, and the desire to become active and engaged participants in the current contemporary art dialogue. The program provides education, mentorship and support to writers and curators to help them realize greater potential.
Fellows receive the opportunity to participate in a structured and innovative curriculum designed to encourage new writing and curatorial projects. Participants have the opportunity to cultivate skills and knowledge by offering access to leading regional and national curators, critics, organizers and academics through public lectures and intimate, hands-on workshops. There is also a regional study trip over the summer with partner organizations arranging studio visits and exhibition viewings.This year there were more than 40 applicants.
“I was happy to be one of the twelve fellows that was accepted for this curatorial fellowship program,” Bontemps said. “It gives me the opportunity to learn from regional curators that have been selected to be mentors in the program. That was exciting to me to know!”
Bontemps is a non-traditional student who decided to pursue her master’s degree at TU after being involved in the Tulsa art community for over twelve years.
“My passion for art has evolved from mentoring to advising emerging artists as well as established artists. I enjoyed immensely supporting and collaborating with artists about their creation and contributing new ideas that would provoke social dialogues or engage the audience with the artwork,” she said.
Bontemps is a photography artist, is a docent at Philbrook Museum of Art, and has served on several fundraising committees for the arts and on the board of directors in several non-profit art organizations, including long-standing contemporary gallery, Living Arts of Tulsa. She is also a member of the Living Arts gallery exhibit selection committee, a curator for Tulsa Young Professional (TYPro’s) Diversity Dialogue Art show, a member of Oklahoma Arts Council-Oklahoma New Emerging Art Leaders (ONEAL), and a member of the Artist Communication committee for the Tulsa Art Studio Tour.
For her philanthropic and volunteering efforts in the Tulsa arts community, Bontemps was awarded a Governor’s Arts Award at OKC Capitol in 2013 and she also received the TYPro’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2008.
This past summer Bontemps was selected to participate in the Emerging Curators Residency in Los Angeles at the Otis College Arts & Design, where she collaborated with other curators and their exhibit practice.
“I am currently consulting and curating a solo-exhibition with local artist that is scheduled to show in April 2019 at the Tulsa Artist Coalition (TAC) gallery,” Bontemps said.
Bontemps said her experience at TU has validated her art and non-profit experience and encouraged her do more in the future.
“One thing I love about TU is the community and how it encourages people to think of their full potential,” she said.