Monique Westra is Calgary-based independent curator, lecturer and writer. Born in Paris, France, she grew up in Montreal. She earned a B.A. from McGill University and an M.A. in Art History from the University of Toronto. For the past thirty years, she has been active as an educator, a curator and a writer. In the 1970s and 1980s, Westra worked at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Glenbow Museum, Petro-Canada, and the University of Calgary. She was an instructor at the Alberta College of Art and Design from 1989 – 2001 where she taught art history courses and developed a successful practicum program. In 2000-01, she created a digital catalogue of the art collection of Red Deer College.
Westra was an art curator at the Glenbow Museum from 2002 to 2010, where she curated a number of exhibitions including The Popular West of Russell and Remington; Fakes! ; Malvina Hoffman: From the Heart; Historical Art from the Glenbow Collection; Portrait of the Artist; Modernist Art from the Glenbow Collection, Claymates and Riopelle:The Glory of Abstraction. She was also lead curator for Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession; Variations: Holgate, Group of Seven and Contemporaries; Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon; Marilyn Monroe: Life as Legend; Joe Fafard; Real Life; War Brides: One Way Passage and The Nude in Modern Canadian Art.
More recently, Westra curated Creative Obsession: A Celebration of the RCA Members of the Alberta Society of Artists and Counterpoint in Black and White: the Photography of Arthur Nishimura and Craig Richards. She has published widely, writing reviews, feature articles and artist profiles as well as exclusive texts for Masters Gallery. Westra has given hundreds of lectures and tours and is well known as a dynamic and articulate public speaker. When she is not curating, writing or speaking, she is obsessed with painting portraits of dogs.