Cut curator some slack
Dear Editor:I have witnessed over the past several days some disappointment involved with the changing of the children’s program at the Aspen Art Museum.I have been an educator for more than 25 years, on full-time faculty at Columbia University in New York and at Cornell and Memorial Sloan Kettering. I still hold an adjunct professorship. I have spoken across the country educating clinicians, written a textbook, many book chapters and numerous publications. I know about education. I have recently written a children’s book.Having been in science and the arts, it is clear that fresh new work with synergistic conceptualization is critical for advancement in any field. As the discoverer of DNA put it, “discoveries and advances are achieved by selective perturbation of systems in place.” This is just what Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson is doing.The previous children’s exhibitions were beautiful but hackneyed.Here and at the root of the educational experience and ultimate production of young curators is a lofty goal attainable by virtue of the plasticity of the childhood brain, and the richness of local educators dedicated to bringing higher views and concepts to the hearts and minds of the early childhood experience.As an educator, I learned early that there is always resistance to change, and the resistance is often ameliorated by the generation of new and exciting work.Here Zuckerman Jacobson is a brilliant appreciator of the arts and eminently poised to create a new and likely more innovative and conceptual program for our local children. Such a model may also serve as a template for similar programs around the country.I am quite sure Zuckerman Jacobson should receive the benefit of the doubt with her new program and see where it leads. I suspect this will likely catapult the museum to a higher stature and position in the art world.Having met her and gleaned the determination and actions she speaks of and performs, respectively, I have no doubt the community will be pleased and, within the controversy, bring new blood and ideas to the museum.One last note: Zuckerman Jacobson is brilliant enough to know when to pull the plug, if need be.I have every faith and confidence in her vision, dedication and head of steam, which is already in place. I hope the end result is not dampened by excessive pressure to avoid change. I suggest we cut her some slack and see what she accomplishes.I hope the community will rally to her support and assist her in her goal for success.Steven Lewis, M.D.Aspen
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