Anderson Ranch lands ‘12 Years’ director as speaker |

Anderson Ranch lands ‘12 Years’ director as speaker

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun
Steve McQueen
Thierry Bal/Courtesy photo |

Steve McQueen, director of the Oscar-winning film “12 Years a Slave,” will be the keynote speaker at an Anderson Ranch event this summer.

McQueen, the first black director of an Oscar Best Picture, will speak at “Making the Change They Want to See,” a two-day event in August featuring artists who are working to create social change.

“All of the artists involved in the symposium, … they’re using their art to make change in the world,” said Anderson Ranch Executive Director Nancy Wilhelms.

The other artists include Mel Chin, who developed a project that uses plants to remove toxic, heavy metals from the soil, and Holland Cotter, a staff art critic at The New York Times who has helped draw attention to “non-Western” art and culture. In addition to his filmmaking, McQueen is also an artist in his own right and has been featured in museums across the globe.

These artists are actively involved in solving social problems and are helping the public to do so, as well, Wilhelms said.

“Some of these artists are amazing catalysts for social change through the work that they’re doing,” Wilhelms said.

“Making the Change” is the second event in the Symposium Series that Anderson Ranch is launching this summer. Similar to the Critical Studies Series it used to hold annually, the nonprofit hopes to spark enlightened conversation through the new event.

The other event in the series is “The Reckoning: Women Artists of the New Millenium,” a panel discussion with the authors of a book by the same name. One of the panelists, photographer Catherine Opie, also will give a solo presentation as part of the ranch’s Featured Artists Series.

Continuing with the social-change theme, another artist in that series, Theaster Gates, has opened numerous arts centers and meeting spaces in the South Side of Chicago, according to the New Yorker.

Summer is high season at Anderson Ranch, where, in addition to the artist presentations, faculty and artists from across the country lead weeklong workshops in almost every medium imaginable and for all levels and purposes.

“We believe that the ranch is about both education and inspiration,” Wilhelms said. “Of course, the workshops deliver education from the best and brightest artistic, creative teachers in their fields, and our Featured Artist and Symposium series provides inspiration for our students and members of the public.”

The Featured Artist Series and “The Reckoning” are both free and open to the public, but reservations are required. “Making the Change” is also open to the public but costs $250 for National Council members and $500 for the general public. To make a reservation or purchase tickets, visit

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