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Curatorial Initiative
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The Curatorial Initiative reflects DCAC’s commitment to curatorial practice as an integral part of supporting emerging and under recognized artists. Each year an apprentice curator is selected to gain experience in the process of planning and mounting an exhibition by working with an experienced mentor curator. The program results in two exhibitions each year: in the spring the mentor curator selects artists and plans the exhibition and accompanying catalogue with the assistance of the apprentice; in the autumn, the roles are reversed and the apprentice plans and executes an exhibition with the assistance and advice of the mentor.

By nurturing new curators DCAC hopes to bring fresh perspectives into our own programming while assisting a new generation of curators who will take the knowledge they gain into our arts community and beyond.

Applicants must have a strong desire to participate in the program and be willing to work with the mentor’s schedule. They should demonstrate good writing skills and an appreciation for visual art but need not have experience as a curator. Applications are reviewed by the mentor curator with the director; however the final selection is left to the curator. DCAC welcomes applications from established curators to participate as mentors and a small stipend for both curators is provided. The Curatorial Initiative was launched in 2005 with a major grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation and continues through the generous support of our members and funders.


Rebecca Cross
Mentor curator for 2017

Currently Rebecca Cross is the owner and director of the Cross MacKenzie Gallery in Georgetown, Washington, DC and has curated and presented over 100 solo and group exhibitions and represented her artists at multiple art fairs since 2006.

Cross is a painter, sculptor, mural painter, ceramicist and designer. She received her B.A. from Bennington College, VT., studied sculpture at St. Martin’s School of Art, London and received her M.A. in painting from The Royal College of Art, London in 1982.

While living in London’s East End Wapping Metropolitan Wharf studio, Cross assisted renowned British sculptor, Sir Anthony Caro for 2 years. She has exhibited paintings and sculpture in numerous group and solo shows and her work is in dozens of public and private collections including – the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, Washington DC, The American Embassies in Nicaragua and Colombia, The DC Convention Center, and The Contemporary Arts Society in London, UK. Cross’ ceramic designs have been represented by, among others, Barney’s NY and the Guggenheim Museum Shop. Her awards include two artist fellowship grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, a grant from the Scandinavian American Society and a McDowell Colony Fellowship. Cross designed sets and costumes for Boston Ballet Rox’s production “The Urban Nutcracker” presented at the Hancock Theatre (and Norway’s Bresee Dance Kompani’s production of “Unstill Lives” and “Daily News” presented at The Black Box Theatre, Oslo, and at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre in Washington, DC.

Sarah Burford
Apprentice curator for 2017

Sarah Burford is an arts administrator and curator based in Washington, DC. Her work is focused on the belief that art can serve as a powerful tool to strengthen communities and visualize social and cultural change. She has served as a curatorial and research assistant on exhibitions including Barbara Kasten: Stages at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater, 1919-1949 at The Jewish Museum in New York. She is currently a Media Arts Specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts, where she manages a portfolio of grants for arts organizations across the country working with film, video, and electronic media initiatives. Previously, she coordinated visual artist fellowships at the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Burford holds an M.A. in History of Art from Bryn Mawr College, and a B.A. in Art History from Swarthmore College. Her writing and research projects focused on photography, collage, film, and video have been published in the exhibition catalogue Barbara Kasten: Stages and in Philadelphia’s Title Magazine. Her artistic pursuits include work with altered books, mixed media sculpture, and woodblock printmaking.


2006: Hystoria: James Mahoney (Lisa McCarty, mentee)
2006: Space of Change: Margaret Boozer and Clare Huschle (Anne Surak, mentee)
2006: Sea to Shining Sea: Ori Sotles (Cara Ober, mentee)
2007: American Icons through Indigenous Eyes: Suzan Shown Harjo (Liz Flyntz, mentee)
2007: American Idolatry: Anne Surak
2007: By Chance: Lisa McCarty
2007: Jolly Cowboy: Cara Ober
2007: Sloganeers: Liz Flyntz
2008: Astral Bodies: James Mahoney (Ellen Tani, mentee)
2008: Kid Mutiny: Ellen Tani
2009: Gift Exchange: Laura Roulet (Landria Shack, mentee)
2009: Poetics of Material: Landria Shack
2010: Abstract Realities: Trudi Van Dyke (Pam Rogers, mentee)
2010: Elements: Pam Rogers
2011: Recollections: Isabel Manalo (Metasebia Yoseph, mentee)
2011: Organic Plasticity: Metasebia Yoseph
2012: Zeitgiest; Too Much Information: Ellen Weiss and Sondra Arkin (Amanda Jirón- Murphy, mentee)
2012: Microscapes: Amanda Jirón – Murphy
2013: Fear Strikes Back: Helen C. Fredrick (Jessica Pavone, mentee)
2013: Non Serviam: Jessica Pavone
2014: (in)Visible & (dis)Embodied: Jarvis DuBois (Gia Harewood, mentee)
2014: Baggage Claim: Gia Harewood
2015: Self/Non-Self: Sequence and Abstraction: Jefferson Pinder (Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, mentee)
2015: Studio Sacrilege: Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell
2016: Sip and Paint Van Gogh’s The Starry Night: Tomas Drymon (Martina Dodd, mentee)
2016: Public Displays of Privacy: Martina Dodd


Applications for the 2018 Apprentice Curator are now available!

Deadline: November 1, 2017

2018 Mentor Curators: Zoe Charlton and Tim Doud; artists, curators, and co-founders of sindikit


Application >>


Questions? Please email

Above: Installation photo from “Re-Collections,” a solo show of work by Victoria Greising, curated by Isabel Manalo (Mentor Curator) and Metasabia Yosef (Apprentice Curator)