Independent curator and writer Milly Mitchell-Anyon will spend a year working with Whanganui's Sarjeant Gallery after being announced as the Blumhardt Curator for 2021.
Mitchell-Anyon, who is currently based in her hometown of Whanganui, graduated in 2018 with a Master of Arts in Art History from Victoria University of Wellington. In 2019 she undertook a Creative NZ Curatorial Internship in Contemporary Art at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and in 2018 was the Blumhardt Creative NZ Curatorial Intern at the Dowse Art Museum. Mitchell-Anyon has also worked in collection management roles at Puke Ariki and Whanganui Regional Museum.
The new Blumhardt curatorial role was developed by the Blumhardt Foundation in partnership with joint funding partner Creative New Zealand. It is an evolution of the Creative New Zealand Blumhardt Curatorial Internship that was administered by the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt from 2006 to 2020. The Blumhardt Curator Opportunity for 2021 will be hosted by the Sarjeant and the Dowse.
The year-long programme shifts focus from emerging curators to those who have established themselves as curators working in craft/object practice. It provides an opportunity to undertake a significant project to develop an exhibition and publication.
Mitchell-Anyon said she was "incredibly excited" about the opportunity.
"It makes perfect sense to be based in Whanganui for a role like this – the Sarjeant Gallery is, and has historically been, committed to the advancement of craft and object art. The Blumhardt Foundation and Creative New Zealand's investment in this opportunity is a testament to the foresight of the impact a programme like this will have on the sector long-term.
"Working with the Sarjeant on this project will allow me to further the scholarship in the area of craft/object art in Aotearoa, as well as hone my own curatorial practice."
Mitchell-Anyon will develop a group show for inclusion in the Sarjeant's exhibition programme for 2022. The project will survey the work of a selection of contemporary craft practitioners and offer viewers an opportunity to look at the realm of craft/object practice from new perspectives.
Blumhardt Foundation chairman Philip Clark said the foundation was committed to offering professional development opportunities for craft/object art curators.
"We are delighted to be partnering with the Sarjeant, and Dowse Art Museum, to pilot our new Blumhardt Curator Programme and to offer this opportunity to Milly Mitchell-Anyon, one of New Zealand's most interesting young curatorial voices."
Sarjeant Gallery curator and public programmes manager Greg Donson said the Sarjeant team were pleased to be working with Mitchell-Anyon over the next year.
"The exhibitions that resulted from her internships at the Dowse and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery were considered, engaging and well received, so it's great that Milly will be able to spread her wings with this project," Donson said.
"Partnerships like this, with the Blumhardt Foundation and our ongoing relationship with Creative New Zealand, with their support of the gallery's residency programme at Tylee Cottage, are critical to extending the scope of what we can do as an institution and we're very happy that the Blumhardt Foundation has recognised our capacity to make things happen."