Beauty Helps

My leadership class visited the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art last week and met with its director and chief curator, Sara Cochran. The focus of our discussion was on how leaders employ images and symbols to lead. One of the questions we asked Sara was, “How does the museum, at the organizational level, use symbols and images to affect change in the local community?” She began her response with “Beauty helps.”

sama-alshaibi-at-smoca

Installation of the exhibition Sama Alshaibi: Silsila at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, June 4-September 18, 2016. Photo: Peter Bugg from http://www.smoca.org/exhibition/southwestnet-sama-alshaibi-silsila

When this discussion ensued we were standing in an exhibit by an American Muslim woman artist of Iraqi and Palestinian descent in one of the most homogenous and politically conservative communities in Arizona. Beauty brings people into conversation. It invites people to look at the map of Ibn Batūtah’s journey throughout Asia, the Middle East and North Africa and leads them into a dialogue about exploration, women’s bodies, Muslim identity, borders, and more.

sara-at-map

Sara Cochran: “Beauty helps”

With so much ugliness in the world, it seems especially important this year to lead with beauty.

[For more on “beauty” and creative venturing, watch Diane Ragsdale’s talk at the 2015 pave Biennial Symposium on Entrepreneurship and the Arts here.]

 

About lindaessig

Linda Essig is director of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, including its award-winning arts entrepreneurship program, Pave: http://pave.asu.edu The opinions expressed on creativeinfrastructure are her own and not those of ASU. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix and "like" the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship at http://www.facebook.com/pages/pave-program-in-arts-entrepreneurship/386328970101 Find Pave's journal, Artivate, at http://artivate.org
This entry was posted in Arts education, Culture and democracy, Higher education, Physical Infrastructure and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s