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Post from Sarah Cash, Bechhoefer Curator of American Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art

Posted By Sarah Cash, Wednesday, June 06, 2012

As a curator of pre-1945 American painting and sculpture who has worked in the museum field for over thirty years, I don’t often feel as if I’m on the cutting edge of scholarship, technology, or presentation techniques.  So it was with some trepidation that I developed and presented a Pecha Kucha for the first annual Curatorial Slam at the 2012 Annual AAMC conference in Boston. That said, I must thank the AAMC program committee for suggesting and implementing the idea. I am so glad that I not only participated, but also was able to benefit from the fascinating content and lively presentation styles of my colleagues.

I have been working on my Pecha Kucha topic, Bierstadt and the Buffalo, for quite some time, and recently gave a paper on the subject at a scholarly conference.  I have been writing and editing exhibition proposals, investigating funding sources, thinking about education programs and community partnerships, and more as a part of developing the exhibition.  However, the opportunity to distill many months’ worth of research and ideas into a six-minute-forty-second Power Point was an excellent one. Not only did I receive good feedback from colleagues after the Pecha Kucha session (and afterward, by email), but I now have my "elevator pitch” for when I present the project to colleagues, trustees, community members, and potential funders.  Since, like most AAMC members, I work for an organization perpetually short on time and money, this presentation will be invaluable for future use.  I’m even going to see if we can initiate a regular Pecha Kucha at the Corcoran, for curators and others to share their ideas with the public; this might expand to the large but diffuse group of art museum curators in Washington, D.C. What better way to encourage partnerships between institutions? 

When I returned to the Corcoran from AAMC, I was thrilled to be able to explain what a Pecha Kucha was to one of my colleagues--a curator of contemporary photography who is normally very much on the cutting edge.

Thank you, AAMC, for once again providing a stimulating and rewarding annual conference.

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