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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.


Mentor Curator for 2022

Claudia Rousseau is an art historian, independent curator and art critic.  Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Rousseau completed a B.A. in Art History at Hunter College (C.U.N.Y.), and her M.A. and Ph.D. at Columbia University in New York. Arriving in Maryland in 2001, she taught art history at the Maryland College of Art and Design and later joined the art faculty at Montgomery College where currently she is Professor Emerita.  An internationally published scholar of Renaissance and Modern art, she is Editor-at-Large of East City Art and frequent contributor to that online art magazine covering art exhibits in Washington DC and surrounding areas. Dr. Rousseau has curated many contemporary art exhibits at venues in the DC region, and she continues to serve on the Public Arts Trust Steering Committee of the AHCMC, as well as the Art Review Panel of the Maryland National Park and Planning Commission for Public Art.  Since 2010 she has been a juried member of the prestigious International Association of Art Critics (AICA) for her writing on art.


Submissions are now open for an Apprentice Curator for 2022!! Click here to apply!!


Mentor Curator for 2021

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.


Apprentice Curator for 2021

Katie Lee is a cultural worker and curator interested in championing women and minority artists through organizing spaces and platforms that encourage radical ideas to be explored. She strives to develop a curatorial practice that facilitates public discourse and collective learning in an inclusive and accessible manner. Her current research interests are in time-based media artworks that blur the boundaries between truth and fiction, resulting in new forms of narrative.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Villanova University, as well as a master’s degree in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. Previously, she has worked at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, MoMA PS1, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Barnes Foundation, amongst other institutions. Katie was born in Seoul, South Korea, raised in Queens, New York, and has lived in Washington, DC since 2017.



Volume 1 (2006 – 20011)

Volume 2 (2012 – 2018)
These two bound volumes include all the full color catalogs created by the curators of Curatorial Initiative exhibitions between 2006 and 2018, complete with table of contents and index. With images of artwork from over 250 artists, and in depth essays, these volumes show the diversity and dynamism of the exhibitions in this program. To order, click here.



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
2019: Intermediate: Fluxus Interpretations: Dawne Langford (Monique Muse Dodd, mentee)
2019: Reparations Realized: Monique Muse Dodd

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)