What Is a Curator?

Broaden your knowledge of visual art careers. Develop an understanding of what it means to be a curator. Curate a collection of art objects in a public space.


  • Essential Question: What is the role of a curator?
  • Areas of study: visual arts
  • Type and amount of credit earned: 1/2 credit, arts credit, or elective
  • Community partner options: arts gallery director, art historian, local historical society employee, visual arts blogger, museum employee.


  • Skills and visual art language to design, plan, and execute a community-based arts event
  • Self-management skills: responsibility, dependability, punctuality, perseverance
  • Public speaking skills: coherence, clarity, etc.
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Collaboration skills

See the detailed ELO description for the full text of these competencies.

Student activities

  • Complete interest inventory and career assessments on an online career exploration website (e.g., Naviance, mynextmove.org ).
  • Watch video: “What is a Curator” from The Art Assignment.
  • Contact and interview at least three arts professionals who curate (examples: gallery directors and employees, historical society employees, music performance organizers, art bloggers…). Sample curator interview questions
  • Listen to at least five hours of fine art podcasts or vlogs (Art for your Ear, Bad at Sports, The Art Assignment, skillshare.com videos)
  • Create a Pinterest account, and curate multiple collections of art based on a theme.
  • Maintain a sketchbook/journal reflecting on tasks completed, interviews, podcasts, vlogs, etc. See Sketchbook Practice.
  • Work with a community partner to curate and present a collection of artworks, or historical objects to present to the school community, or community-at-large.
  • Complete a final presentation that summarizes the your understanding of curation, and details of the process of the exploration. See final presentation attachment.


Students are assessed based on their portfolio and the final portfolio presentation to an audience which may include peers, teachers, community partners, and/or other audience members they select; their final reflection; and the community partner’s final evaluation . Students self-evaluate their work throughout the semester on the school-wide problem-solving and self-management rubrics, and their final presentation on the speaking rubric.

More information

This ELO depends on building relationships with community partners. Schools that are interested in implementing a similar ELO should feel free to think of curation in broad terms, and does not necessarily have to be in a fine arts context. Schools could look to local arts galleries, University art galleries, local museums, bloggers that curate online art collections (two examples: thejealouscurator.com, saatchiart.com ).

This ELO was submitted by Mary Goldthwaite-Gagne, Art teacher at ConVal Regional High School. Email teacher for more information