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About the Exhibition Development Seminar (EDS)

Initiated in 1997 by Maryland Institute College of Art's Curator-in-Residence George Ciscle, MICA's Exhibition Development Seminar (EDS) is sequenced in two consecutive semesters with students from MICA's undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies divisions and from area colleges and universities. The goal of EDS is to examine the curatorial process and explore new ways to engage artists, students, museums, galleries and the Baltimore community. It provides students with the opportunity to be involved with and assume leadership in every aspect of a major exhibition, including research, planning and production. Enrollment in both semesters is mandatory, and the course is a 6 credit requirement toward the 18 credit Curatorial Studies Concentration.

The course instructor chooses the artist(s)-in-residence and/or exhibition theme, venue(s), sponsoring partner(s), and professional mentors for each EDS project in advance. To start the first semester students are introduced to the artist/theme and conduct extensive research to collaboratively establish their vision for the upcoming exhibition. They build a relationship with the artist-in-residence who is integral to the process and regularly meets with the class.

The class then divides themselves into six teams which assume a range of responsibilities and are mentored throughout the year by professionals in each area. Students work together as a class and separately in their respective teams. Through the collaboration of team members with each other and with their mentors, students gain both technical skills and invaluable experiences from hands-on hard work. They develop draft proposals and make presentations to the artist, mentors and class as a whole before finalizing proposals into actual plans. The process includes audience development and outreach to members of the community with presentations about the exhibition to discuss what the class and the community could do to benefit one another.

The Curatorial team works closely with the artist to select the artwork included in the exhibition. The Education team determines target audiences for the exhibition and plans a variety of public programs. The placement of work, lighting, and design of appropriate environments is the responsibility of the Exhibit Design team. The Graphic Design team produces the visual identity for the exhibition and designs the associated print materials. The Web team coordinates the layout and execution of the website and blog. The Project Coordinators team establishes the class agenda, oversees deadlines, and facilitates communication with MICA administration and appropriate partners. A writing mentor insures that all teams create and produce appropriate and scholarly work.

By first semester's end, the class has developed a budget, timeline, and a complete work plan. This plan goes into implementation second semester with the launch of the website, production of a catalog, development of educational materials, and the installation of the exhibition. During the course of the exhibition all students oversee and participate in docent tours and programming. Their working process and archives of their final products become the basis for a casebook, which includes thorough self, group and professional critiques and evaluations.