Curatorial Initiatives

Curatorial Initiatives 2023, Keynote Victoria Noorthoorn). Photo by Justin Barbin

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 together will gather curators from nine 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 present 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. 

For the 2024 edition in partnership with Independent Curators International (ICI), EXPO CHICAGO will host its tenth annual Curatorial Forum – ninth co-organized with ICI – which will gather more than 40 curators from across the country and will feature for the first time a curatorial conference, “Curating and The Commons,” taking 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 150 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