Guest Curator – The Museums at Washington and Lee University, VA

Guest Curator Position

The Museums at Washington and Lee University seek a guest curator for an upcoming exhibit titled Mother Clay: The Pottery of Three Pueblo Women, opening on February 1, 2023. The exhibit will feature original work by Jody Naranjo (Santa Clara), Judy Tafoya (Santa Clara), and Kathleen Wall (Jemez). The exhibit will be housed in the Reeves Museum of Ceramics in a 707-square-foot gallery space. The core team will consist of the Director of Museums, the Curator of Academic Engagement, the Senior Curator of Art, and the Collections Manager. The guest curator will collaborate with the artists and museum staff to explore themes from their perspectives, centering their narratives and highlighting the history of Native peoples and Pueblo cultures. 

Scope of Work

The artists for the exhibition have been identified and selected, along with their original work (approximately ten objects total). The contracted role will build the visual presentation and provide interpretive material (interpretive text panels, introductory panels, brochures, and other exhibition-related supplementary content) to tell the story of Pueblo cultures and the contributions of Native peoples to ceramic traditions. 

The chosen guest curator is not required to reside in Lexington, Virginia. A one-week residency is expected for the exhibit’s installation, programming, and opening in January. Candidates must have the ability to participate remotely and in person to:  

•             Contribute to the preliminary conceptualization of the exhibition’s presentation strategy.

•             Participate in preliminary planning for engagement programming, marketing, and virtual components, if any.

•             Undertake project research, write exhibit content, and label copy.

•             Develop the themes and intellectual content of the exhibition.

•             Present at the opening reception, participate in the panel discussion with the artists and provide a public tour of the exhibition.


•             $2,500 for the scope of work. The curatorial assignment is estimated to not exceed 60 hours of consultative services.

•             $1,000 for residency to install and open the exhibition. A fee for additional auxiliary activities not listed in the Scope of Work may be explored. The Museums at W&L will:

o             Provide housing and a meal allowance.

o             Provide up to $500 of reimbursed travel expenses.

o             Arrange local roundtrip transportation from Roanoke (ROA) or Charlottesville (CHO) airport to Washington and Lee University.


November 2022 – February 2023


Knowledge of contemporary Native American arts and familiarity with Native American communities, cultures, and social issues is required—preferably knowledge of Pueblo or Southwestern tribes. Candidates should have past curatorial experience and strong writing skills. 

How to Apply

Please send a cover letter stating your interest and availability, a resume, and samples/portfolio to Isra El-beshir, Director of the Museums at W&L, at and with a subject line of “Guest Curator” by November 7, 2022. A review of applications will commence on November 7, but late applications will be considered until a selection is made.

About Us

Washington and Lee University is a small liberal arts college nestled in the Virginia mountains, with an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 1,860. W&L is the ninth-oldest college in the U.S. and a top-ranked private university. W&L is located in Lexington (pop. 7,000), a vibrant and picturesque town in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

The Museums at W&L consist of three sites: the Reeves Museum of Ceramics, the University Chapel & Galleries, and Watson Galleries. Its mission is to advance learning through direct engagement with the collections and facilitate an interdisciplinary appreciation of art, history, and culture. 



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