Alumni Spotlight | Midori Curtis (Visual Arts ’89)

Midori CurtisWas there a specific faculty member or peer who especially inspired you while at the School of the Arts? If so, who and how?
Professor Jane Wilson changed my life. I applied to MFA at Columbia University but I was not accepted. One day, I met with Jane on the bus, and she asked me if I would apply to the program again. I told her, "I am not sure, Jane," because I was too hurt not to be able to get in to the program. She said, "Why not? How old are your children now?" "One is in elementary school and one is in kindergarten," I replied. She said, "So, you can handle the program now, children being in schools, can't you? I will be the chair person at the program next year. Apply one more time, Midori. Try!"
So I did. In between the portfolio slides, I put our two daughters' slides titled, "Creation 1," and "Creation 2." You have no idea how happy I was when I received the acceptance letter from the School of the Arts at Columbia University. I still have the letter, and I will never forget Jane. She truly changed my life!
How did attending the School of the Arts impact your work and career as an artist?
When I was interviewed I was asked if I can commit myself to art and I replied yes. (Well, it was the second time for me to commit myself after our wedding!) The program was very demanding but we were trained to take very tough criticisms and to learn from them. One important thing I came to understand by being in the program was to appreciate that we each have our own way of expression and we can respect everyone's works and at the same time trust our own decisions and believe in our own choices. I owe that lesson mostly to Jane Wilson, who has been my role model being a painter, wife and a mother. She taught me how to be all three by the way she lived. We all knew she worked very hard and seriously in all of these parts.
If you could revisit any piece you created during your time at the School of the Arts, which would it be? Why?
I have many, but the theme of my works as an artist in New York City as a Japanese woman still lie in my works, even though now, it is more personal and I do not think of East/West theme much.
What was your favorite or most memorable class while at the School of the Arts?
Painting and drawing by Jane Wilson, Printmaking by Tony Harrison, and Kathy Carracio (actually she still is very active). I remember visiting artists vividly: Brice Marden, Gregory Amenoff, and John Cage, among many other visiting artists.

About Midori Curtis
Collections Include: United States Embassy, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Tikotin Museum, Haifa Ark Hills Club, Tokyo. Exhibitions Include: Yoseido Gallery, Tokyo 2012, 2009,2001 Salon de Mai, Paris 1999,1996 LS Gallery, Crete 2013, 2007, 2000 Inter-church Center Gallery 2009, 1998.
© 2017 Columbia University School of the Arts | 305 Dodge Hall, Mail Code 1808 | 2960 Broadway | New York, NY 10027 | (212) 854-2875 | EMAIL
Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.