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Civility and Public Discourse

Today I had the pleasure of attending the Executive Alliance (formerly Network2000) luncheon featuring a conversation between Donna Brazile, Interim Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and Mary Matalin, celebrated conservative voice and former presidential advisor. It was refreshing to see the warm friendship the two women share, despite being on opposite sides of the political spectrum. For two individuals so steeped in the political process to talk about the nation’s prospects in this divisive time was encouraging. As Mary Maitalin said, “…this is a disputatious, but not novel time…” in the country’s history.

What struck me most about this conversation and the one moderated by Derek McGinty on NPR’s Dianne Rheme show today about civility, was the theme of the importance of direct human contact. Being face-to-face is a balm for our vitriol and makes it much harder to dehumanize those with whom we disagree.

Isn’t that a unique function of the arts and humanities? The continuous examination and study of human nature, dialogue, healing, and opportunities to explore conflict and find commonality.

After all, as Donna Brazile said, “We are not so divided as the media would lead us to believe.” She looks for “…goodness everyday in America…” and at the worst of times, in every case she has found “there was an angel.”

In other news, GBCA is pleased to announce the launch of the 2017 Baker Artist Portfolio season with a brand new website! The design work was contributed by The Berndt Group, so you know it is gorgeous. Check it out as soon as you can and if you are an artist, it’s time to start working on your portfolio.

Now entering its ninth year, in 2017 the Baker Artist Awards prize structure has some exciting changes. This season, one artist in each discipline will be awarded $10,000. From this group of six, one of the artists will then be awarded an additional $30,000.

All the best,

P.S. Program Manager, David London has scheduled a series of information sessions to introduce artists to the new website, discuss the programmatic changes, and answer questions. We are grateful that superstar Baker alumni Paul Rucker, Naoko Maeshiba, Wendel Patrick, Shodekeh and Joyce J. Scott have each agreed to lead a workshop. You can learn more and RSVP HERE.

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