I was scrolling through LinkedIn today and ran across an ArtNet article that was a wonderful expression of what success and achievement can look like.
The context of the article describes how successful Black artists and artists of color are taking their success and investing it in various programs and residencies for up and coming young artists of color, whether through time or funding. These residencies provide the tools young artists need to become small business owners, which, as an artist, you essentially are.
The reason for this post though, had to do with the comments section and the general replies from white people about the success of Black artists. Here is one example:
Who this person is does not matter as much as the statement they are making. To call art color blind is like saying that the color of an orange doesn't matter, except without all of the repercussions that a racist society can have on a Black body that is not an orange.
It was a small interruption, a baby step, but interrupting racism is really one step at a time. I understand that I will make missteps, I will put my foot in my mouth, and I will apologize for those missteps. I don't expect that this level of change, which is both personal and for the benefit of everyone I interact with in my community, to be easy. It will be messy. I will have to come to terms with my upbringing, the privilege that colors my very existence as a white women in this society.
I will not be undertaking this journey in a void. Before I even commented on the post above, I armed myself by doing research on my opinions. Yes, I know and understand colorblindness is ill-intentioned, but what can I say that might possibly resonate? And I'll be clear here, the words that I used were not my own, and I did not give credit. So, let me give credit where credit is due - thank you Samantha Vincenty (and whomever her research led her to) and Oprah Magazine for the words to help me on my journey. Eventually, I'll be able to tackle these situations using the new language I continue to learn from such encounters.
I didn't stop at Oprah Magazine, although I appreciated the perspective and simplicity of the argument provided by Vincenty. I also did a bit of a deep dive into the American Psychology Association's book 'The Myth of Racial Color Blindness.'
Here is an excerpt:
The persistence of racial disparities in education, health, wealth, poverty, and incarceration supports the notion that we live in racially hierarchical society, which affords unearned benefits to White Americans and unfairly burdens people of color. The very existence of these disparities challenges claims that race does not matter in U.S. society. Read More...
I understand that this is just the tip of a very large 400+ year old iceberg. I just want to set my intention for the new year, that it is an iceberg that I, as a white person, will do my best to topple.
All quotes from Samantha Vincenty article, 'Being Colorblind doesn't make you not racist - In fact, it can mean the opposite' from Oprah Magazine, published on June 12, 2020.
Creativity is at the very heart of science and art. It drives the passion that allows us to explore and express new findings, while satisfying our innermost curiosity. Science frames our world-view based on relevant facts and data, while art translates our lived experience into personal expression.
Today, we have a new climate reality. Scientists and policy makers struggle to gain support over meaningful environmental action on climate change. More than ever we need the rational, practical knowledge of science to help us understand the urgency of our situation. We also have a real need to explore this unfamiliar emotional terrain, to engage on an aesthetic level, and to create action through strong feelings of connection.
Art can help people conceive of a different existence. Artists can make the invisible visible, and the unimaginable real. Art has always been a powerful cultural symbol for making sense of our world and how we feel about it.
The Pacific Northwest is no stranger to climate change. While the effects are not as readily seen, it is clear that climatic shifts are beginning to alter our region with less snowpack, warmer days, flooding, sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and record-breaking wildfires.
Using the framework of science, art, and climate change in the Pacific Northwest, I will explore the history of environmental art, and the artists and art organizations working on these issues today.
Questions I am interested in exploring are: How has art shaped and influenced the climate discussion in our region? Are artists and art organizations affecting perceptions of climate change in our community? What sort of reactions have they seen from the public? What plans do these artists and organizations have for future engagement around the topic? How are they dealing with the emotional repercussions of climate change? How can artists and art organizations help create action and policy change in our region?
Using research, current news, past and upcoming exhibits, and interviews with artists and art institutions, I will create a profile of contemporary art and climate change in our region. As part of my research I will collect relevant images, exhibit announcements, and portraits of the artists. My end goal will be to design and create a physical book in which to share with the artists and organizations I have profiled, and anyone else who may be interested in the topic.
The relevance of art in science communication cannot be overlooked. Over the last decade, climate communication research has raised awareness of the critical role of framing in influencing how people respond to information, and the way reasoning occurs. By overstating the scientific and economic framing of climate change, we have missed the mark on understanding the deeper importance of tapping into emotions, values, and social and cultural identities.
Art can bridge this gap by creating a broad narrative, a tactile or visceral experience, and raw emotional engagement to current and future realities of a world enmeshed in climate crisis. Let’s hope it isn’t too late.
Musings on business, womanhood, consulting, and things I find interesting.