I grew up in the American South, looking for shade and a breeze, reading everything I could get my hands on, and dreaming of a world that I knew was somewhere else.
I sang loudly and in tune, played hard, got dirty, climbed trees to get a better view, got dressed up willingly but then accidentally ruined my clothes, argued with other kids (and, occasionally, with adults, too) about issues big and small, and generally refused to conform to anyone’s expectation that I might grow up to be a proper lady.
I made my first real study of art when I got to college, and began then what has become a lifelong program of asking questions, centered around this one: What can art do?
I will argue these four things:
Art can change lives. I’ve seen it happen to others, and it’s happened to me.
Every single person in the world has the capacity to form deep connections with great works of art.
Great art opens minds.
People who have access to art have a responsibility to open up access to people who don’t.
This is what makes my life make sense to me: opening minds—and trying to open my own— since 1955.