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Curatorial Initiative
for Curators

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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.


Mentor curator for 2020

Jayme McLellan is a curator, teacher, writer and artist. She founded the Washington, D.C. based gallery Civilian Art Projects in 2006. In 2002, McLellan co-founded Transformer, a non-profit arts organization serving as a catalyst and advocate for emergent expression in the visual arts. She began her career at D.C. Arts Center where she realized her first curatorial projects including the Tandem Project, a residency and exchange for artists from southeast Europe.

McLellan was a member of the team who created HARD ART DC 1979, published by Akashic Books. Working with photographer Lucian Perkins, writer and musician Alec MacKaye, photo editor Lely Constantinople, and Henry Rollins, she served as project manager for and curator of the exhibition in venues including the Duke Center for Documentary Studies and Agnes. B. Headquarters Gallery in Paris, France. She was Assistant Curator for Darfur/Darfur, a multi-media exhibition presented in 27 museums and spaces across North America and Europe. She recently curated a retrospective exhibition for photographer Frank DiPerna at the American University Museum. From 2012-2014, she and a community of activists tried to save the Corcoran Gallery of Art from closing. An essay about her career is included in Living & Sustaining a Creative Life: Artist as Culture Producer, edited by Sharon Louden, published by Intellect Books, and distributed by University of Chicago Press. She is currently adjunct faculty at Georgetown University and living near the ocean where she is organizing her archive.



Mentor curator for 2019

Dawne Langford is a Washington, DC-based independent curator, documentary filmmaker, and artist. She recently completed a six month project as the director and curator for the Fundred Reserve OPEN LAB, in collaboration with Mel Chin Studios. After many years working in public media as a broadcast TV editor, she transitioned to producing, working on independent documentaries Check It, Kandahar Journals, and Finding Joseph I. Dawne also launched a curatorial initiative, Quota, dedicated to centering traditionally marginalized viewpoints in public discourse around artistic creation and representation. Currently, she is the editor on a documentary about the descendants of those enslaved by the Jesuits, in a collaboration with Georgetown University. Dawne is also working on an art publication with Provisions Library For Social Justice. Previous exhibition venues and collaborations include Transformer, SPRING/BREAK, Olly Olly, Washington Project for the Arts, Torpedo Factory, George Mason University and The Smithsonian Asian Pacific Center’s Culture Lab series, Crosslines.

Apprentice curator for 2019

Monique Muse Dodd is a D.C. based new media artist and independent curator. Her work explores what it means to be black and free, and how blackness exists in the near future. Obsessed with how America consumes black and queer culture Muse interrogates how she contributes to this further commodification of these identities.

Muse holds a BA in Film Production from Howard University. She was a  2017-2018 Artist-in-Residence at the Flux Factory and a 2018 artist-in-residence at the ARoS Public Museum in Denmark. Muse has programmed film screenings at the ARoS Museum in Denmark, ArtsEast NY and has partnered with groups such as the Genderhouse Festival and the BUFU collective. Muse wants to center the voices of queer POC and move their stories from the margins to the mainstream.

photo by Jonathan Gabriel Charles


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.

Applications for 2020 are now open. Submit your application here by October 31, 2019.  


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
2017: Macho – The Mask of Masculinity: Rebecca Cross (Sarah Burford, mentee)
2017: Denatured: Sarah Burford
2018: Queer(ing) Pleasure, Queer(ed) Performativity, both curated by Andy Johnson. Mentors: Tim Doud & Zoe Charlton

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)