Meet Cierra Britton, Artists’ Advocate and Brooklyn’s Personal Art Curator
Yes, March is Women’s History Month but we like to highlight the women making Brooklyn history year-round! Today, we’re excited to introduce you to curator, art advisor, and artist advocate, Cierra Britton, Cierra is an independent curator whose mission is to help would-be collectors collect with intention.
Not only does she meet with clients to suss out their taste, she shows them new art at each appointment, and even takes them to meet working artists. All with the intention of making art more personal and accessible to her clients. We wanted to get her thoughts on self-belief, navigating the curatorial world as a Person of Color, and how she spends with a conscience.
RC: How would you describe your work?
CB: I’m a curator and art consultant. My mission is to bridge the gap between artists and collectors with the intention to support emerging artists and give them the space to tell their own narratives regarding their work rather than depending on a third party to do so. I work with an array of emerging artists, with a particular focus on artists of color.
RC: Tell us a little about your background and why you feel a connection to your work.
CB: After graduating from The New School Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts with a B.A. in Visual Studies, I put my focus into working with artists by organizing exhibitions to highlight their work in the gallery space. I pursued the curatorial field after studying the role and its function in museums and galleries during undergrad. Having faced racism and discrimination with my experience as a Black woman in America, I quickly understood how harmful misrepresentation of POC’s stories is and has been in American history.
I focused on art’s storytelling function while prioritizing the representation of authentic narratives that spoke on Black identity. Elements such as propaganda and profiling have been the root of many contemporary issues we face today. Having People of Color in director and curatorial roles within the art world has shifted, and has the potential to further transform the way the works of Black artists are displayed, contextualized, and understood by viewers.
Artwork by Flo Ngala, Photo by Jaime Hier
RC: What community do you identify as being part of? Why did you choose to base your business here?
CB: I’m part of the Black community, the LGBTQ+ community, and the community of women. I chose to base my practice in New York City because it’s the mecca of the art world—attracting artists from all over the world to come and pursue opportunities.
I specifically gravitated towards living in Brooklyn because I wanted to be in a community centered space where people interacted with and supported each other. I’ve become super involved with my community by putting myself out there to small business owners and working with them to find ways that we could support each other. I’ve had great experiences with talking to people and finding out asks and offers where we all met our shared goal of growing our businesses within our communities.
RC: What do you think are the most significant challenges for women business owners or women in leadership positions?
CB: Women in leadership positions are typically under-estimated or seen as intimidating because of our confidence. Many Black women face significant challenges that exist in the workplace where we’re told that we don’t have what it takes for certain roles or we’re seen as “aggressive” when we’re being direct and confident in our speech. I personally experienced discrimination in the workplace in regards to a role that I was over-qualified for and was told that “I wouldn’t be able to be my full, authentic self in such a cookie cutter space” by a higher-up who barely knew me.
RC: Being a small business owner means relying on your community to support you and getting involved within your community as well. In what ways do you feel supported and actively engage with your neighborhood of residents and other business owners?
CB: I am mindful of where I spend my money, and a lot of that goes to small businesses in my Brooklyn community. I believe that you get back what you put out and I would want my community to utilize my services as well.
Artwork by Flo Ngala, Photo by Jaime Hier
RC: What advice would you give to young women who want to start a small business?
CB: Believe in yourself and your dream more than you ever have before and nurture that faith every single day! Put yourself out there and ask for help where needed. You never know who you could be talking to or who can contribute to your growth.