The News: Curatorial Best Practices Roundtable


The News: Curatorial Best Practices Roundtable is a rare opportunity for Bay Area curators of queer performance to convene in an open conversation to discuss best practices in queer performance curation. Organized by Komel WithLove and Fallon Young, and moderated by Kolmel, The News invites a number of curatorial voices from local arts organizations as well as independent curators and cultural producers to discuss aspects of the curatorial process in order to share their challenges, innovative ideas and resources with one another, and ultimately come away with an evolving, shared document of best practices that will nurture a community of queer performing artists & performance curators.

Performing artists & curators, arts administrators and all interested parties are welcome to attend the discussion. Artists will be able to take away a sheet of contact information & resources assembled by participating curators, and everyone who leaves their email address will be sent a wrap up of the discussion and resulting best practices document by email.

If you can attend, please RSVP to with one sentence about yourself. This is important for two reasons: it helps Kolmel pose questions to the group that speak to the participants’ unique perspectives and experiences, AND it ensures there is enough pizza.

Confirmed participating voices include, but are not limited to:

Shirley Acuńa is a queer Peruvian American artist, who enjoys exploring themes of identity, adventure, belonging,love and everything in between: within painting, collages, spoken word poetry and photography.

Amy Bell is a British queer contemporary dance artist visiting the Bay Area for a few weeks.

Amy Cancelmo is the Exhibitions & Events Coordinator for Root Division, where she oversees 12 exhibitions and works with over 500 artists annually, a queer art historian and independent curator, and her most recent project “Strange Bedfellows: Collaborative Practice in Queer Art” has been traveling nationally since June 2013. She will be absent for this conversation, but sent some thoughts to the moderator to share.

Elizabeth Cooper makes and supports queer artists and art in the city. Most recently, she produced THIS IS WHAT I WANT, a festival about queer desire, with Tessa Wills.

Gabriel Darling is a performance movement artist/poet/visiting mermaid dedicated to dislocating and relocating terms, senses, and found objects and gestures related to home and kind places.

Dean Disaster is a drag performer, collage maker, nightlife worker, door girl.

Emma Dugas is a SOMArts volunteer helping to record notes about this conversation.

Melanie Elvina is an arts organizer, activist, and independent curator who thrives on arts programming and calls the SF Bay Area home.

Jacqueline Francis, PhD, is an art historian specializing in U.S. art of the twentieth century and contemporary African Diaspora art, a CCA professor and a Queer Cultural Center board member.

Lisa Ganser is a multidisciplinary artist who recently curated Un(dis)ing our abilities for the National Queer Arts Festival 2014.

Raquel Gutiérrez, In Community Program Manager at YBCA, community builder, performer, and performance curator.

Sarah Guerra is a laser cat who’s a professional unicorn wrangler and cat herder, operations manager for Brava Theater and Production Manager for Queer Cultural Center.

Adrienne Heloise is an artist who uses curatorial projects to connect and promote other like-minded artists.

Zoe Kay is a writer, performer and sex worker who is interested in how people with hidden disabilities can be better included performance.

Miss Ian Librarian is a drummer who has performed in Constance Hockaday’s projects and at SOMArts in Work MORE! #6 and is pretty much game for all kind of new ways to be wacky and wear eyeliner.

Dylan Peet is a curatorial student and follower of queer arts/performance.

Kate Rhoades is a queer, Oakland-based multimedia artist interested in the labor rights of artists, performers, and arts workers.

SALTA (represented by Elizabeth Ardent & Sarah Pritchard) is a collective of dancers who curate a free monthly mobile performance series in Oakland, CA.

Constance Hockaday, interdisciplinary artist, performative lecturer, and curator of the recent radical performance series All These Darlings and Now Us.

Dorian Katz is a visual artist and curator at Center for Sex and Culture who dabbles in performance.

Michelle Lee is an interdisciplinary artist and Curator / Exhibitions Coordinator for Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA).

Indi McCasey is a performer, arts educator, and co-producer/curator of Topsy-Turvy Queer Circus, a 2013 & 2014 National Queer Arts Festival event, featuring performers from across the country who subvert traditional ideals of beauty, sexuality, and strength in circus arts.

Matt McKinley is an independent curator, art consultant, exhibit designer and installer, often working for and with community focused organizations (SOMArts, QCC, APICC, UCSF, ArtSpan) to promote and support Bay Area artists working in all media through exhibits, acquisitions and career guidance.

Lorin Murphy is the executive director of Periwinkle Cinema; for the past ~4 years, Loren, along with a number of volunteers, has put on monthly screenings of queer film/video works from the Bay Area and beyond.

Camille O’Grady is a longtime SF artist, musician and performer who spent a long time as a New Yorker, and has experience in creating & running galleries and events.

Julie Phelps, Program Director at multi-faceted organization CounterPULSE, preserves an intentional imprecision and hybrid curatorial frame. Julie moved CounterPulse from a rental house to all curated programming and has instigated innovative international and national exchange projects.

Carol Queen is the Executive Director at Center for Sex and Culture, and an author and performer who has organized many exhibitions and performances.

Seeley Quest has been a promoter, curator, MC and performer in multiple monthly cabarets both stationary and roving, and has curated and MC’d performances at the SF Anarchist Cafe.

Masha Rotfeld’s current work centers on the fluid interdisciplinary boundaries of performance, public art and civic engagement with such programs as Central Market NOW, The Garage’s Residency and dance festivals, as well as the Airspace queer residency program.

Kevin Seaman is an artist, activist and arts administrator; he is currently the General Manager for the Queer Cultural Center and manages the Creating Queer Community commissioning and technical assistance program for emerging queer artists.

Ernesto Sopprani is: Director of THEOFFCENTER (, Director, AIRspace Queer Performance Residency (, art administrator, independent producer/advocate, and a huge fan of sustainability and shared resources practices.

Fallon Young is an arts administrator and co-curator of an evening of multidisciplinary performance for the National Queer Arts Festival 2014.

Anthony Julius Williams is Artistic Director of The Iruke Project, a multimedia production company devoted to social justice and sustainable communities, and a Core Ensemble Member of OutLook Theater.

This list will be updated biweekly leading up to the event.

Pro Tip: this discussion will take place in the gallery among the art in the exhibition Projected Personae– arrive a little early to spend some time with the show and look out for works by queer performers such as Xandra Ibarra & Heather Cassils.