Art Gallery of York University is pleased to welcome Felicia Mings as our new Curator.
We are extremely pleased and privileged to have Felicia Mings join the AGYU as Curator. She comes to us from the position of Academic Curator in the Department of Academic Engagement and Research at the Art Institute of Chicago. A key aspect of Mings’ curatorial practice is interpreting and presenting modern and contemporary art of Africa and the African diaspora, as represented by two recent exhibitions she co-curated for the Art Institute of Chicago: Malangatana: Mozambique Modern, 2020, and The People Shall Govern! Medu Art Ensemble and the Anti-Apartheid Poster, 2019. Mings co-edited the accompanying exhibition catalogues. The Medu catalogue includes writings by herself and other key contributors such as Antawan I. Byrd, Khwezi Gule, and Ashraf Jamal, among others. During her tenure at the Art Institute, she also provided leadership on several initiatives that fostered new approaches to training emerging museum professionals and artist and student engagement with the museum’s collection, including the Andrew W. Mellon Summer Academy and Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program (2014–20) and the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund project “Curatorial Practice, Equity, and Exchange: A Dialogue Between Cape Town and Chicago” (2018–19).
Starting April 12, 2021, Mings joins our curatorial team in the role of Curator, working with the Director/Curator and in collaboration with all AGYU curatorial staff at a moment where the institution builds on its long history as a leader in presenting and supporting artists. A re-visioning of the institution’s role on campus, locally, and internationally is prompted by our expansion into a multi-site facility that includes a three-storey stand-alone building dedicated to exhibitions and events and the construction of a visible vault for the University’s art collection. Mings’ focus on the intersections of curatorial practice and community-based arts education will be essential in AGYU’s evolution.[*]
“I’m thrilled to be returning to Toronto at this time in my career and this transformative moment in the AGYU’s history,” says Mings. “It is an honor to join an institution that has long been invested in questions of how we can bring people together through contemporary art, to advance dialogue on global issues, histories, and ideas, with an eye toward their resonance with local communities. I look forward to contributing the vibrant art community in Toronto and Canada more broadly.”
In addition to the aforementioned institutional projects, Mings’ accomplishments include independent exhibitions and educational programs such as Intimate Encounters, Blanc Gallery, 2018; Body and Soul, the Gene Siskel Film Center, 2015; What We All Long For, SAIC’s Student Union Galleries, 2014; Fine Color, a series of short films for the Chicago Home Theater Festival, 2014; and the Youth Film Club at the Rebuild Foundation’s Black Cinema House, 2013. Mings has also been a part of the inaugural teams at The Council of Educators of Toronto and Nia Center for the Arts, both non-profit organizations working to enhance socio-economic opportunities for youth, and, respectively, educational attainment and access to the arts.
Born and raised in Canada, Mings earned her MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her Honors BA in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto and Sheridan College.
[*] The new stand-alone art gallery is possible through a five-million-dollar donation by philanthropists and art collectors Joan and Martin Goldfarb, igniting this expansion and re-centering the arts on campus and in the larger art community. The gallery will also carry a new name, the Joan and Martin Goldfarb Gallery, to honour their long history of supporting the arts at York University. Award winning and internationally renowned architect Siamak Hariri from Hariri Pontarini Architects leads the design of the new stand-alone building with a vision of motion and connectedness. For images and more information on the design, see the linked page below.
Photograph courtesy The Art Institute of Chicago.