Curator As Muse

Posted by: Michele Cohen

Kelicia Pitts is many things: A model, artist, art consultant, curator and a muse.

Hailing from Claymont, Delaware, Pitts was a Curatorial Studies major with a dual minor in Business and Fine Arts Media at Moore.  As a muse, she was the subject of a solo installation, The Kelicia Project: Una Nueva Posibilidad, by Latin American artist Henry Bermudez in 2013 at the Crane Arts Building in Philadelphia and in 2015 she inspired the Sankofa Kore sculpture  by Christopher Smith now located on Woodmere Art Museum’s garden grounds in Chestnut Hill.

“Being a fine art model is fulfilling and completes an expressive side of me that has been recognized in a powerful way that I am overjoyed by,” Pitts said. “Having the sculpture as a fixed piece at a museum is very important. I’m so happy that Christopher Smith chose me for it.”

“I want to be in history,” Pitts said. “Being a fine art modeI has been a fulfilling artistic expression for me. I also feel like I’m representing black women in a way that they’re not often represented in art. I will model as long as I can, to make a statement.”

The Henry Bermudez installation represented an art collaboration of Pitts’ ongoing “The Kandy Project,” in which she acts as the primary model for a visual artist’s body of work. “The Kandy Project” began in 2006 and involved six months of Pitts being photographed by 21 different photographers in Philadelphia. She approached Leah McDonald, a photographer who had been shooting her for years, to shoot a photography book of images of her. McDonald suggested that other photographers also capture her image. These images  – 56 total – were eventually displayed as part of a traveling exhibition in Philadelphia.

“I was very interested in how you have to transform yourself to whatever that specific photographer needs you to become at the time, like being an actress,” she said.

Pitts said many of today’s curators are former models. She hopes that the experience of working closely with artists and photographers gives her an edge in the curating world.

“Being a fine art model has given me great experience when it comes to knowing artists, their process and how to put together an exhibition,” she said. “I hope to curate an exhibition at a museum or other institution one day.”

She credits Moore for giving her the confidence to pursue a career as a curator and utilize all her talents and experiences.