There is so much to be written about the value of PERSPECTIVE, and yet so little. Each of us has a fairly limited vantage point outside of our own personal point of view. This view is shaped by our individual life experiences and filtered through our current state of mind. I personally don’t agree with the term “alternate facts” and how it is currently being leveraged to distort and discredit the truth. However, as someone who has studied psychology and human behavior for decades now, I do believe we all live in alternate realities.
The Galleries @ WORK_SPACE recently hosted an 8-week art exhibit and experience titled: PERSPECTIVES: WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT, WE ARE ALL ONE. In August, we invited artists from the Greater Hartford region “to submit artwork that is expressive of the uniqueness, distinctiveness, creativity, and ingenuity of the group, or groups, with whom they identify.” We quickly realized that displaying artwork from a diverse array of artists does little to forward the Town of Manchester’s initiative to better understand, respect and honor the diversity of our community and make strides towards greater equity, inclusion, and accessibility. It was important to bring these artists together with other community members to share in common experiences and have an opportunity to discuss the many ways in which our experiences differ.
With the support of the Office of Neighborhood and Families, the Manchester Art Association and the CT Department of Economic Development and Community Development’s Office of the Arts, we showcased 100 works by 60 artists in 2 of our 3 gallery spaces. We also produced 14 live events, led by 20 artists and educators sharing of their time and talents in relationship to music, poetry, body-art and movement, mindfulness, technology, rituals and traditions. The performances and presentations were most impressive and according to our evaluations, profoundly moving for the audience members. Of course, as the organizers, we ran into a few issues related to differing visions, conflicting expectations, miscommunication, and varying practices of “social norms.” Yet, somehow, all those involved were able to maintain respect, empathy and the perspective that everyone’s intentions were good and directed toward a common goal. The things that went well were great, but it was those upsets that really helped everyone involved expand our perspective.
Collaborations can be challenging and WORK_SPACE is a collaborative entity. Fortunately, collaborations are also creative, stimulating, productive, and fun. Whether dealing with our 48 members, the hundreds of people who use our meeting space every month, or the artists who grant us the privilege of displaying their work, we strive to continually to understand and embrace their needs, expectations, and perspectives.
The Perspective Wheel below is a useful tool to help individuals and organizations identify:
- that they are currently coming from a very specific perspective,
- what that perspective is and what is and isn’t possible through that lens,
- and that there are other perspectives that might be better suited to their desired outcome.
Wishing you a New Year viewed from the most positive perspectives,
Stacey Zackin, PhD, MSW, PCC (Manager, WORK_SPACE)