Curatorial Proposals

Nicole Harrison

Exhibition:  Fear Into Fire: Reclaiming Black Male Identity Through the Art of Tattooing
Gallery: The Arcade
Date: January 24 – March 3, 2011


Nicole HarrisonNicole Harrison (middle) and Fear into Fire artists Jabari Zuberi on left and Shasta Bady on right.

How did you find out about DEPS?
I previously became familiar with DEPS while a student at Columbia College.  In regards to the exhibit submission opportunity, I was referred by HHSS department faculty (at the time).

How long before the opening of your exhibition did you begin planning?
I began planning in the summer of 2010.

What inspired your vision for your exhibition?
My vision for the exhibition was inspired by my master thesis research.  The Fear Into Fire exhibit was a visual representation of the intense research I have done and spent a year writing about and creating images for.


What was the hardest part about curating your exhibition?
The design of the show probably was the most challenging.  I spent most of my time planning the show focusing on the layout, images, colors, and text for the show.

What was your favorite/most rewarding part about curating your exhibition?
My favorite part of curating the exhibit was having the opportunity to connect with artist and view the potential work that would be exhibited in the show.  The most rewarding was organizing the images and seeing where they would be placed in the show.  And of course the opening day of the show was the most exciting and rewarding.  Seeing everything complete was Amazing!

Has this experienced helped to further your artistic or professional artistic career? If yes, how so?
Yes! Curating this show helped me to better understand the goal and objectives of not only the show but also my extensive research project that made this opportunity possible.  Often I find when working on very dynamic, challenging and innovative projects it’s initially difficult to articulate my ideas, thoughts and the objective of the work.  So this curating this exhibit helped me personally in breaking down my work and better understanding it in order to better communicate my ideas to others.

What accomplishments, artistically or professionally, have you done since your exhibition?
Currently I have been invited to present and speak about my work at the African American Studies Symposium at the University of Texas @ San Antonio (UTSA) on April 12th and the Manning Marable Memorial Conference in New York City on April 29th.  I’m currently expanding my research and looking for other venues to curate this show.

What is your best advice to other students who want to curate an exhibition?
The best advice I have for other students who want to curate an exhibition is to of course have a very innovative idea that generates a dialogue and conversations.  Also, continue to think outside the box and find different intersections between the selection of work, the artist, and the overall intent of the show. Always network and communicate with artist to find the best and diverse work for the show.  Lastly, depending on the topic/intent of the show, you should do research.  I think research helps to think further about the work and the show that you’re trying to create.

What advice could you give about balancing a busy schedule with work, school etc and curating an exhibition?
The best advice I have in regards to balancing your work is to find ways to make it all connect somehow.  That way you’re working towards a central goal and it doesn’t seem to overwhelming.  If you are not able to make connections across the many different tasks and responsibilities, I will suggest making time management a priority.  Knowing how to prioritize helps in the flow of getting work done.  Also do not stress.  Stress often helps in loosing focus and trying to accomplish everything at once and usually ends in not completing anything.

For more informatio about the exhibition, visit our exhibition archive.  Installation image from Fear Into Fire:

Fear Into Fire Installation

Student Curators

Pat Elifritz


Nicole Harrison

Fear into Fire: Reclaiming Black Male Identity Through the Art of Tattooing

Michelle Graves
Post Human/Future Tense