Curatorial Initiatives

Common Future at Curating and the Commons, EXPO CHICAGO 2024. Photo by Clay Kerr.

EXPO CHICAGO is committed to supporting arts leaders and professionals through educational programs and networking opportunities. The exposition is one of the only art fairs in the United States with dedicated platforms which aim to foster future collaboration and dialogue among local, national and international curators of contemporary art and architecture. 

The Curatorial Initiatives include an expanded, year-round Curatorial Forum program alongside its annual Curatorial Exchange, which in 2024 gathered 23 curators from ten countries to discuss shared perspectives, goals and challenges facing the field. The exposition’s robust Curatorial Initiatives support its larger mission to foster the critical creative dialogues taking place in the Midwest and internationally today.

In 2024, EXPO CHICAGO and ICI presented the second annual Barbara Nessim Curatorial Travel Award, which is fully funded by Barbara Nessim, an artist known for her life-long multidisciplinary art practice as well as her support of women in the arts. 

The 2024 edition in partnership with Independent Curators International (ICI), EXPO CHICAGO hosted its tenth annual Curatorial Forum – ninth co-organized with ICI – which gathered more than 40 curators from across the country and featured for the first time a curatorial conference, “Curating and The Commons,” which took place on-site at Navy Pier with a keynote by Miguel A. López, co-curator for the 2024 edition of the Toronto Biennial of Art. The Curatorial Forum presents an unrivaled environment for professional development, exchange, and collaborations throughout the art and museum ecosystems. 

View 2024 Curatorial Forum participants.

The Curatorial Exchange is one of the nation’s only dedicated initiatives focused on funding global curator convenings that foster future collaborations for curators on the local, national, and international level. The program has supported over 170 international curators since inception, bringing a wealth of cross-cultural dialogue to EXPO CHICAGO each year. The fifth annual exchange is developed in partnership with foreign consulates and cultural agencies from countries around the world, offering select mid-career and established curators the opportunity to engage closely with their peers, convening as part of a four-day program that includes access to the Curatorial Forum, exhibitions, top private collections, artist studios, museums, and institutions during EXPO CHICAGO. 

View 2024 participating curators