Whether it is a painting exhibition in a gallery or a performance in a public space, artists need their work to speak to a certain audience. Therefore, the figure of the curator - a professional who manages the selection of artists and works, as well as the event organisation and promotion - becomes crucial. The interest in this role has grown over the decades and, consequently, it requires a level of specialisation which includes technical skills as well as an ability to understand the present world and its issues.
In practice, a curator’s work can encompass a wide range of activities. These include defining the theme and concept of an art event (be it an exhibition, happening, or other), researching and selecting the works, choosing the location (gallery, public space, museum, etc.), planning the event in all its details, designing the layout and artwork display within the space, and producing all the information or promotional material (from writing the press release to advertising on digital channels). The role therefore requires an appreciation of some artistic and cultural aspects, others related to communication, and also more managerial aspects such as budget management or securing the works. These responsibilities may vary depending on the type of employing organisation (galleries, museums, companies, independent projects, etc.) and the project.
As implied by the previous paragraph, curators deal with different tasks, even though their main goal remains the success of the actual art event and, consequently, the promotion of the artist's work. This necessarily requires a wide range of skills, such as:
Whereas in the past a curator’s profile tended to descend directly from artists, gallery owners or critics’ profiles, today this role is increasingly more defined. So, too, is the professional path. At NABA, training begins with the Three-year BA Programme in Painting and Visual Arts and is completed with the Two-year Specialising course in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies. In the former, the foundations are laid to enter the art world. Whereas, the latter provides a highly specialised curatorial practice in which visual culture, aesthetics and social dynamics are central to the programme.