Becky Nahom: 2014 Big Brain Awards Finalist, Visual Art (VIDEO)
You submitted nominations for awards given to the Valley's emerging creatives, and the results are in. Introducing our 2014 Big Brain finalists.
Katrina Montgomery Becky Nahom hopes to create shows that the public will enjoy
Becky Nahom puts people first. The 23-year-old curator who co-founded Halt Gallery last fall spends her time creating shows that encourage connections between both visitors and artists in hopes of bolstering the art community and bridging the divide between high art and the public at large.
"It would break my heart to see people walk into a gallery and then turn around and walk away because they felt that they didn't belong there," she says.
Though Halt Gallery is a relatively new undertaking, Nahom has held a variety of art-related positions in the past; she has either interned or worked (or interned and worked) at nearly all of the major art institutions in metro Phoenix. Currently, Nahom is both a gallery attendant and an assistant preparator at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. She is also an events and exhibitions assistant at Scottsdale Public Art.
Katrina Montgomery A selection of books that inform Nahom's curation process
It's wonderful to have a day job that relates to her curating, she says. "Obviously my preparator skills transfer to me being a preparator for my own shows, which is awesome, but a lot of what I've learned and what's making me a better curator comes from being a gallery attendant," she explains. "As a gallery attendant, you are seeing how the public interacts with things: their walkways, where they won't go, what they see and what they don't see, what they're more drawn to touch or break the rules with."
Nahom says she particularly likes groups shows, in part, because they offers more chances for viewers to connect with work. During "Rinse and Repeat", her first independent curating endeavor outside of ASU, where she got her start curating student shows, Nahom focused on bringing in lots of different artists. She continued down this path with subsequent shows because it allowed for connections to be made for and between the artists themselves.
"The main thing that gets me inspired is seeing excited artists," Nahom says. "For the curator, it's not just about the art, it's about how the public interacts with it and how the artist is seen. You want to make a great show for them so that they will have more opportunities in the future as well."