This March, over 700 members of the Hewitt community, including students, current and incoming families, alumnae, faculty, staff, and Met Museum educators, gathered at The Vinegar Factory to celebrate the opening of Feminist Stance: What Do You Stand For? The evening was the culmination of months of hard work on the part of Hewitt’s Curatorial Studies class, who conceived of and implemented the show from start to finish in collaboration with The Met.
The opening reception began with a fishbowl conversation, where Girls’ Scholar in Residence Rachel Simmons joined Visual Arts Chair Anna Wronsky and the Curatorial Studies class for a discussion of purpose, process, and feminism at Hewitt. Students stressed the reward that came from the hard work of physically installing the exhibit and shared insights into the intricacies of jurying a selection of art. The impassioned discussions the team had throughout the curation and hanging of the exhibition led them to understand feminism as many-layered, a concept as diverse as the experiences of the girls and young women at Hewitt.
Preparation for the exhibition took place over the course of several months, during which time the Curatorial Studies class developed a concept for their show, solicited and juried submissions from Hewitt students in every grade, designed logos, and a social media campaign, and developed a curatorial statement. With the guidance of Anna Wronsky and visual arts faculty members Young Kim and Erik Sommer, the students behind Feminist Stance also spent two full days installing art on site at The Vinegar Factory. They cut and built walls, backed art onto cut foam core, chose, measured, and hung wall installations, and suspended works from the ceiling. These dedicated upper school students also worked in small groups to organize interactive art education activities and write age-specific questions to guide students through the exhibition. The day after the exhibition opened, every grade level was treated to a customized tour through the art, with students in the Curatorial Studies class acting as docents.
After celebrating what was by all accounts a hugely successful exhibition, Feminist Stance curators got back to work evaluating their process and thinking critically about how to improve upon it next year. They will create a handbook for future Curatorial Studies students, complete with tips on how to launch a successful show. Additionally, this year’s curators have begun working with the visual arts department and division heads to conduct preliminary research on possible themes for the spring 2018 exhibition. Congratulations to all who were involved with developing, nurturing, and bringing to fruition this wonderful student-run exhibition. The Hewitt community is eager to see what next year will bring!