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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

‘Makes me work even harder’: Art curator brings fresh perspective to art students

Photo courtesy of Jefferson Godard
Jefferson Godard, ShiftSpace Gallery Manager

From Berlin to Wichita, Jefferson Godard’s love for art remains constant. The curator and educator’s passion, sparked by a meaningful experience with Salvador Dalí’s painting “The Ecumenical Council,” grew into a lifelong pursuit to highlight artists. 

“My passion lies with curating and learning more about artists, and hopefully inspiring other people and igniting interest about artists,” Godard said

Currently, Godard works at Wichita State University as an educator and as the gallery manager for ShiftSpace and Clayton Staples Gallery. 

“I would say that the WSU student is very motivated and very hungry. And I really, really like this; this makes me work even harder,” Godard said. 

Godard’s academic involvement with art began with a study of architecture. He received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Florida Atlantic University and a master’s from Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Germany. 

“I love architecture, the world of architecture. I love studying it, and I love talking about it. I love teaching it — I don’t really like practicing it,” Godard said. 

Godard worked as an architectural designer in Miami for a year to gain enough experience to teach it. Shortly after, his career shifted trajectory into art curation. 

“Curation, for me, is about sharing work with other people and about learning and equally learning more about the artists you’re working with,” Godard said. “I really love learning more about artists, learning more about their practice and learning more about different artists. This, to me, is endlessly fascinating.” 

From 2012 to 2021, Godard directed Aspect/Ratio Projects, a commercial gallery in Chicago. The gallery focused on showing and representing artists at different stages of their careers with video work and performative themes. 

Godard expanded his eye for art during his years abroad studying in Germany. He also spent time in Northern Africa and various European cities, observing different perspectives on art. 

“I think travel is absolutely essential. I encourage students to travel, it really just opens your minds to new cultures, new people. I think you have to just get out,” Godard said. 

Having worked at five different universities, Godard finds his work at Wichita State unique. He said that he is inspired by the passion he’s observed in Wichita State students.

“The main thing I want them to have is criticality. I want them to develop their own voice and not feel like they have to mirror or parrot what someone else is saying,” Godard said. “To understand that there isn’t objectivity to good design and good art.” 

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About the Contributor
Monique Bever, Reporter
Monique Bever is a first-year reporter and photographer. She is a freshman majoring in philosophy. Monique has lived in Wichita for most of her life. She loves film, fashion, and her cat.

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