© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New Everson curator says fewer larger exhibits, more smaller ones could be coming

Tom Magnarelli
The new curator of art and programs at the Everson, D.J. Hellerman.

The Everson Museum in Syracuse has hired a new curator of art and programs. One of his goals is to bring more community involvement to the museum to continue a shake-up of the institution.

Two years ago, the Everson faced hundreds of thousands of dollars in deficits, canceled two traveling exhibitions and saw their executive director move to the Newark Museum in New Jersey. Since then, the Everson has hired a new executive director and now D.J. Hellerman, curator of Burlington City Arts in Vermont, will be filling an open curatorial role.

“Making sure we have a wide range of values and interests represented I think is core," Hellerman said. "It’s about creating an agenda with a civic mindedness.”

Hellerman names modernist abstract paintings, more challenging video performance art and ceramics as programs he envisions for the museum. He said the funding models for museums are changing. The future may be less about relying on expensive blockbuster exhibitions that can burn through a year’s budget and more about smaller, specific exhibits with a targeted appeal.

“The goal is to bring that community along with you on your next project as opposed to a kind of flash in the pan surge for four months and then it’s quiet for eight months,” Hellerman said.

Hellerman intends to continue  his practice of doing lots of studio visits with artists when he comes to Syracuse. He said he wants to get more community involvement with events such as questions and answers over coffee.

"That can be from portfolio reviews to feedback from exhibitions to just questions in general about how they present their work to a gallery," Hellerman said. "Being a resource is also a way to listen."

The museum will also host a craft beer tasting in May.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.