MUSEUM 2050 Dispatches

Updates from Art Curator Grid

Pauline Foessel

The day starts early in Lisbon for me these days, walking to our office space in the beautiful neighbourhood of Lapa. To get there I step on the old pavement of the streets, passing by a nice park in the city centre. Looking at the sun going up or the rain falling. There aren’t many people in the streets, but you can feel life.

It is already February 2021, almost a year in such a new reality.
We are a team of 10 people, spread out in different homes of the city, sometimes in different countries and continents. We do our weekly meetings, we share ideas, discuss the next developments of the platform, how we can best communicate them, how can we reach curators and institutions.

I had the idea of Art Curator Grid while I was still living in Hong Kong 3 years ago, but it became a reality almost two years ago now. The ambition of creating an art community, centred around curators and the institutions they work with. Offering them tools that they need in their practice and giving them a platform and a community they want to be part of. Allowing them to bring the best of what contemporary art has to offer to audiences.

I am seated at a grey marble table, through the windows I can see the colorful walls made of famous Portuguese tiles, from time to time, you can hear one of the yellow trams passing. It is here that I reflect, have ideas, share them. It’s here that I talk to curators, head of institutions. Explaining what we have been working on and our ultimate goal.
We are here to help curators, institutions and the artists they work with to undergo a digital transition. I always thought that the art world had to take the chance to prosper online, and now we have been forced to do it. I am so optimistic though. I see all the solutions that the digital can bring to strengthen physical curatorial activities and the power it can have to reach the public, a new public.
We are offering tools for art professionals, which can respond the best way to their needs. We are proposing a new way to curate online, giving the possibility to enrich an exhibition with content coming from curators and public programs.

We are also having long discussions as well to find a new way of fundraising with the different team members: Willy, co-founder and CPO, Aude, our head of communication and all members of the team participate.

What we have all learned from these past months is how to adapt, how to find ideas that can benefit our community. An idea comes after another, but I am always being reminded that we need to stay focus and consistent.

We had one strength: before Covid we already had started to build our community of curators and we felt this was already incredible. How to gather people from different horizons around what they do on a daily basis… The pleasure of having them sharing their work…following what occupied their days.

Today the sun is out, we are in lock down but I remain positive. What do I wish? That as many people hear about us and find in Art Curator Grid one or several solutions.
That they can learn, discover, get to know what is happening on the other side of the world, or right next door. I sincerely believe in the exchange of knowledge and culture.
What will remain: the work we all do in the arts.

About the Author:

A native of Grenoble, France, Pauline Foessel launched Art Curator Grid in 2019, the first professional social network centered around art curators – an online community that fosters connections between art professionals, institutions, galleries, and companies on a global scale.

About the Series:

Museum 2050 has always been about bringing people together through our community’s shared passion for museums and institutional development. As the world slowly and carefully starts reopening, we are checking in weekly with various members of our broader network to share personal reflections, anecdotes and musings about how they and their institutions have been operating in the face of this pandemic. In these incredibly difficult times for all, we hope that these brief vignettes from around the world bring us closer together, and remind us that even when the world stops and museum doors close, we still persevere.