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Best Curator 

Hesse McGraw

There are tons of fabulous artists in this town -- more, in fact, than a city this size deserves. There are fewer fabulous curators. The city puts on a handful of good art shows every month, but not all of them reflect the extent of local talent, and even when they do, the curatorial approach is generally to assemble good work by good artists. Period. Hesse McGraw deserves recognition not only for taking notice of true innovation within the art community but also for pushing those innovators to accept new challenges. This year, those challenges included the idea of installing art in a Topeka storage facility; the unconventional approach to Moving In Is Moving Out yielded impressive results and got a busload of downtown Kansas City habitués to spend a Friday night in a blighted Topeka neighborhood. One of McGraw's most recent projects has been a curatorial exchange with London's Rocket Gallery. A curator there has brought his most trusted crew of European artists to the Paragraph in Kansas City, and McGraw has exported his most revered standbys to London, promoting international artistic exchange, something we usually get to experience here only in much-better-funded museums. Museums might bring international artists to Kansas City, but they don't seek out ways to make Kansas City artists international. McGraw has done it on a small stipend, making a true art of curating.

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