Momentum OKC Curator Juan William Chávez

October 27, 2014


Our guest curator for Momentum OKC 2015 is Juan William Chávez from St. Louis, MO.

Born in Lima, Peru,  Chávez is an artist and cultural activist who explores the potential of space through creative initiatives that address community and cultural issues.

He has received awards and grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Creative Capital, Kindle Project, Ovation Network, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Art Matters, the Gateway Foundation, Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council. Chávez holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Boots Contemporary Art Space
copyright Juan William Chávez

Chávez is the founder and former director of the Boots Contemporary Art Space, a non-profit that was dedicated to emerging to mid-career artists and curators. Though Boots closed its doors in 2010, its mission of supporting emerging artists with an art lab invested in and contributed to the growth of the St. Louis art ecosystem. Boots Contemporary Art Space was named Best Art Gallery of St. Louis in 2009 by the Riverfront Times.

As an artist, Chávez’s  studio practice incorporates drawings, films, photographs, architectural interventions, unconventional forms of beekeeping and agriculture that utilize art as a way of researching, developing and implementing creative placemaking and socially-engaged projects.

His most recent, and perhaps most ambitious, project is the Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sancturary, a proposal for the City of St. Louis to transform a former housing development into a public bee sanctuary. This project draws parallels between the decline in population of bees and the shrinking of post-industrial cities, and intends to find strategies to help remember and build upon past to create new growth and opportunity.
In an interview with St. Louis Magazine Chávez states “If anything, this project [the Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary], I hope it redirects the conversation. Art has the potential of doing that, just by bringing it up and throwing it out there into the public space.”


Pruitt-Igoe Bee-Sanctuary project
copyright Juan William Chávez

Chávez will choose an Emerging Curator to work alongside him. Both curators select three artists for Momentum Spotlight, which gives selected artists an honorarium and the opportunity to create new bodies of work with the assistance of the curators. Applications for the emerging curator position are being accepted until October 31, 5pm. Please see the details here on our calendar.

Momentum Tulsa Spotlight projects should be proposals for the creation of new work by Oklahoma artists aged 30 and younger. The curators will select three artists who will each receive a $2,000 honorarium and studio visits with the curators. Artists will be highlighted in exhibition marketing. Project proposals are due November 10, 5pm. Please see the details here on our calendar.

Momentum OKC opens March 6-7, 2015, 8-11pm, at the Farmer’s Public Market, OKC. General entries are due January 27, 5pm. Oklahoma artists aged 30 and younger are eligible. Learn more at