2021 Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators:
Call for Submissions
Founded in 2012, the Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators is awarded annually to an emerging Canadian curator under 30 with the aim to foster social innovation and curatorial excellence in Canada. Hosted and administered by the Art Gallery of Guelph, the winner is selected by a jury of arts leaders and receives a $5,000 honorarium as well as mentorship in the development of an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Guelph.
Submissions will be accepted until Monday, February 1, 2021, at 5 pm. The exhibition will be presented from September 16 to December 12, 2021 at the Art Gallery of Guelph. By supporting and mobilizing Canadian creative talent, the Middlebrook Prize aims to inspire positive social change through creativity in an era of ongoing and unprecedented economic, environmental, social and cultural upheaval. Proposals should emphasize contemporary Canadian art with attention to audience, community and public.
The 2021 Middlebrook Prize jury is composed of Nicole Caruth (Independent curator and cultural strategist), Sally Frater (Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Guelph), and Denise Ryner (Director/Curator, Or Gallery and Associate Curator, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin).
Nicole J. Caruth is a cultural strategist and holistic health coach who examines the intersections of identity, place, and health. Caruth has worked with nonprofit spaces for more than 20 years to present exhibitions, develop community initiatives, and increase the representation of melanated and marginalized people in the arts. She has held positions at McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Art21, and the Brooklyn Museum. Her exhibitions include The Grace Jones Project, Fallen Fruit: Power of People, Power of Place, Derrick Adams: Crossroad—A Social Sculpture, and Build Better Tables, a public art exhibition commissioned by the Nashville Office of Arts and Culture. Her writing has been published in ARTnews, C Magazine, Gastronomica, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Public Art Review, and Vitamin Green, a Phaidon Press volume. Now based in Rhode Island, Caruth earned her bachelor’s degree at San Francisco State University and her master’s degree at the Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies. She was a recipient of the 2017 Diversity + Leadership Fellowship with the Alliance of Artists Communities, as well as receiving the 2019 Arts Writers Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation. She is an adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Sally Frater holds an Honours BA in Studio Art from the University of Guelph and an MA in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art/The University of Manchester. Curatorially she is interested in decolonization, spatial theory, Black and Caribbean diasporas, photography, art of the everyday, and issues of equity and representation in museological spaces. She has curated solo and group exhibitions for institutions such as the Ulrich Museum of Art, the McColl Center for Art and Innovation, Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at the University of Toronto, Project Row Houses, and Centre for Artistic and Social Practice. A former recipient of the Core Critical Studies fellowship and residency at the Glassell School at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Frater has also completed fellowships and residencies at the UT Dallas Centraltrak, Southern Methodist University, Project Row Houses and Art21. The recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, she is a member of Association of International Curators of Contemporary Art, and the Association of Art Museum Curators, and is an alumna of Independent Curators International. She is currently the curator of contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Guelph.
Denise Ryner is the Director/Curator at Or Gallery, Vancouver (2017-present), as well as associate curator in collaboration with Anselm Franke at the Visual Arts and Film Department of Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. Her curatorial, research and writing interests include place-as-agent in exhibition-making and the cultural production of transnational counterflows of the 19th and 20th centuries. In 2019, she co-organized the Bodies, Borders, Fields symposium with writer Yaniya Lee. Independent curatorial projects include Common Cause: before and beyond the global (Mercer Union/Toronto, 2018), Bodies of Fact: The Archive from Witness to Voice (HKW/Berlin, 2017), Harbour/Haven, in collaboration with Tonel (‘thirstDays’ VIVO Media Arts/Vancouver, 2016), Interim Measures (8-11 Project Space, Toronto, 2015), Projections at the Perel (SFU Galleries/SWARM 2015) and Rain or Shine Saturdays (SFU Galleries). She has written for Canadian Art, BlackFlash, C Magazine, FUSE and guest co-edited Canadian Art’s Fall 2020 Chroma issue with Yaniya Lee. She has taught in ECUAD’s Curatorial Studies program as both a guest and sessional lecturer.
Applications must include:
• Letter of introduction: applicants should articulate their curatorial values and philosophy and what the Middlebrook Prize means to them as a career-building opportunity
• One-page exhibition proposal: proposal must include contact information, curatorial statement, list of artists, and description of potential outreach programming
• Exhibition budget up to $10,000 including: artist fees (per CARFAC fee schedule for Category II institutions), shipping via an accredited art transportation company, any special equipment requirements for the exhibition, a description of unique or unusual installation requirements, projected travel/accommodation expenses for artist(s)/curator
• One sample of critical writing: curatorial essay or published article/review, for example
• Curriculum vitae: current, maximum 3 pages
• Support images (10): with descriptions (artist name, title, date, medium, dimensions) including 5 images supporting exhibition proposal and 5 images documenting past curatorial work
• Floor plan: detailing the proposed layout of works (download the floor plan)
• The award winner must be under 30 years of age by December 31, 2021 and is required to demonstrate proof of age on signing of the exhibition contract
• The Prize is open to Canadian citizens, as well as non-Canadians currently living and working in Canada
• If the Prize is awarded to a non-Canadian curator, they must be resident in Canada for the full term of the Prize (March 1 through December 31, 2021)
Applications are to be submitted in a single PDF document, with the subject line Middlebrook Prize, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome and encourage submissions from applicants who are BIPOC, LGBTQ2S, women, and persons with disabilities.
Call for Submissions: December 1, 2020 – February 1, 2021
Exhibition Dates: September 16 – December 12, 2021
In light of the changing landscape of the pandemic, please stay tuned for details about the award presentation early in the new year. The Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators is made possible through the support of the Centre Wellington Community Foundation Middlebrook Social Innovation Fund, The Guelph Community Foundation Musagetes Fund, as well as private donations. For more information about the prize as well as past winners and their projects, please visit middlebrookprize.ca.
About the Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators:
Founded in 2012, Middlebrook Prize is a national prize awarded annually to foster social innovation and curatorial excellence in Canada while encouraging social connectedness and a shared sense of community. Selected by jury of arts professionals, each winner is a curator under 30 who receives an honorarium as well as curatorial mentorship in the development of an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Guelph.