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Art industry insiders curate a new writing fellowship, helping a dozen locals communicate as effective critics and curators

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to encourage a very small group intensely and then the broader community to raise the level of conversation about art, and not to make anyone feel excluded, but make everyone feel more engaged to access art in a different way," Kirt said.

Public programming will accompany the fellowship workshops to promote community discussions. The first of these events is "Writing About Art in Museums and Academia," held 1-3 p.m. Saturday at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman, and led by Rushing, Frances Colpitt and Emily Stamey. Two discussions at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art will follow in upcoming months; one about curatorial models on March 27, and another on Sept. 18 about "Criticism, Critique and Publishing."

"I think anytime you increase the volume and the quality of conversation about visual art, you help grow more patrons," Rushing said. "That can be people who collect or people who support organizations philanthropically, and also you can increase the number of people who come out to shows or participate in shows. To have frequent conversations and meaningful conversations about the visual arts, the community has to care about the conversation. You have to really work actively to make that happen; it doesn't spontaneously generate itself.""?Allison Meier | Photo Mark Hancock

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