What do I believe, and why? Where do these ideas come from?

 

Art has the power to render visible, to make physical, the things that are hard to see. Systemic racism. Christian privilege. Gender bias. Art exposes the stories that frame our world views. It asks the questions we are afraid to ask.

 

This fear of asking the tough questions keeps us separated from one another. Afraid of one another. In truth, we are desperate for meaningful relationships. In the age of connectivity, we are lonely.

In 2015, after a fulfilling career in non-profit program management, I began exploring the arts as a medium for facilitating difficult conversations on identity, belief and belonging. This project, Making Conversations, grew quickly beyond ceramic-arts facilitated dinner discussions into a vehicle for racial equity work in classrooms and City government, and I absolutely loved it. When I went to work for the City of Orlando in 2017, support for these ideas allowed me to bring a racial equity lens to the Sustainability department, and in 2019 I led members from various departments across City Hall through a five-month series of racial equity workshops. After presenting to the Mayor’s Office the data and feedback collected from these workshops, the City moved to hire its first-ever Equity Officer.

In 2018 and again in 2021, I was invited to bring this project to my former high school, where their student body represents 55 different countries. Leading students to understand their stories as means for better understanding others, my curriculum successfully facilitated cross-cultural engagement on campus. To see this project, click on "MC IN THE CLASSROOM" below.