Curating with care: Interview with Kimberly Drew

NFT Residency

“It’s almost like asking someone ‘how are you?’,” explains Kimberly Drew when asked what the word “curator” means during a recent Instagram Live interview with Voice’s NFT Residency program manager Eliza Fish. “It’s so open-ended and dependent on the day, on who you’re speaking to.”

Drew borrows from Hans Ulrich Obrist’s book Ways of Curating in which Obrist defines “curator” through the lens of the Latin word “curare,” which has been translated to mean “to take care.”

Kimberly is a multi-hyphenate curator, activist, and author and co-editor of two books about art and culture. But one thing is consistent among all projects: care and care-taking are the main approaches.

“I think almost exclusively about care and having a caring relationship,” Drew says. 

“Not only with artists, not only with audiences, but also with how future generations might interact with art as a form of storytelling or way of making sense of the world around us.”

Drew grew up in the City of Orange, New Jersey, 15 minutes outside of Newark — an important and prominent city in the Black Arts Movement. The curator’s hometown also sits in close proximity to New York City, yielding the opportunity to take family trips to the city’s wealth of museums with relative ease.

“Art and access to art has always been a big part of how my parents and family at large raised me,” Drew explains.

Studying the History of Art and African American studies at Smith College, Drew went on to intern in the Director’s Office of The Studio Museum in Harlem. After an internship in 2010, Drew was inspired to start the now well-known Tumblr blog Black Contemporary Art in 2011.

“I’ve had the benefit of being both classically trained, to borrow from the musical term … and then on the other side I’ve had this incredible opportunity to build my own ‘digital institution,’ as some people have called it, through my blog project,” Drew says.

A leading voice in conversations on the concept of ownership in the art world, Drew — who also served as social media manager for both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Studio Museum in Harlem — explains that working in both traditional and digital spaces has given them a unique perspective on ownership. 

The Voice NFT Residency, for which Drew is serving as a Curator, will bring creators together — building a space where they have unbreakable ownership of their creations.

“With all of these expansions and new platforms and new ways of making and being understood, there’s a potential for us to start with more equity … With more kindness with more thoughtfulness.”

As a Curator for the NFT Residency, Drew will bring together a group of artists to collaboratively create and mint NFTs. 

“Some of my artists are people I’ve been a fan of for a really long time, working with mediums people wouldn’t expect … We are all pretty green and learning in real-time about the NFT space.”

The first series of NFTs will drop as part of Voice’s public launch later this summer.

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