Gardiner Museum welcomes first Curator of Indigenous Ceramics, Franchesca Hebert-Spence
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Gardiner Museum welcomes first Curator of Indigenous Ceramics, Franchesca Hebert-Spence
Hebert-Spence will oversee the narrative and content development of the Gardiner Museum’s new Indigenous gallery space.

TORONTO.- The Gardiner Museum has announced the appointment of Franchesca Hebert-Spence as its inaugural Curator of Indigenous Ceramics. Hebert-Spence will oversee the narrative and content development of the Gardiner Museum’s new Indigenous gallery space, part of a full-scale transformation of the Gardiner’s ground floor guided by the principles of access, connectivity, and Indigeneity.

The Indigenous gallery space is being designed by architect Chris Cornelius of studio:indigenous, in consultation with the Gardiner’s Indigenous Advisory Circle: Mary Anne Barkhouse, Kent Monkman, Andre Morrisseau, Duke Redbird, and Tekaronhiáhkhwa / Santee Smith.

Construction on the project will begin in July of this year.

“As the Gardiner embarks on an exciting period of change and growth, rooted in the institution’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation, we are fortunate to welcome someone with Franchesca’s deep curatorial and research experience, uniquely informed by her background as a ceramic artist and maker,” said Dr. Sequoia Miller, Chief Curator & Deputy Director at the Gardiner Museum.

Hebert-Spence will lead the stewardship of Indigenous collections at the Museum as well as strengthening relationships with Indigenous partners and community members. She will also oversee the development of programming initiatives to activate the newly established Indigenous gallery space.

“I am so grateful for the warm welcome I’ve received from the Gardiner team and to be joining at a moment filled with eagerness and excitement generated by the ground floor transformation,” said Hebert-Spence. “The creation of this role would not have been possible without the commitment, dedication, and advocacy of Indigenous makers, community members, and Gardiner staff and management, past and present. It’s important not only to see Indigenous cultural production within institutions but to also embrace the responsibilities that are integral to deep and meaningful relationship building.”

The position of Curator of Indigenous Ceramics is generously supported by the Lindy Green Family Foundation, whose Leadership Gift of $1 million toward the Museum’s transformation will ensure the continuation of this newly established curatorial role, as well as contributing invaluable capital support.

The Lindy Green Family Foundation supports the visual and performing arts, as well as medical research, with a focus on transformational equity and access initiatives.

“The Gardiner Museum’s reimagining of its main floor space through an Indigenous lens is an essential and groundbreaking project we are proud to support,” said Foundation trustees Lindy Green and Sam Chaiton.

Franchesca Hebert-Spence is Anishinaabe (member of Sagkeeng First Nation) from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She joins the Gardiner with extensive curatorial experience, including roles at the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Alberta, and Winnipeg Art Gallery. Hebert-Spence holds a master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of Winnipeg and a Fine Arts degree in ceramics from IshKaabatens Waasa Gaa Inaabateg Department of Visual Art at Brandon University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Cultural Mediations (Visual Culture) at Carleton University and the 2024 recipient of the Joan Yvonne Lowndes Award.

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