the art of human rights

This morning, I took my children to an art exhibit.

They weren’t exactly gung-ho (more like riotously grumpy) but I decided this time their preferences didn’t count. They would see art and they would appreciate it, end of discussion and get in the car.

As a board member of the Arts Council of the Valley, I had already been treated to a private tour of the exhibit. Our guide, a woman who knew everything about Shahn (she wrote a book about the guy, for Pete’s sake), gushed information. Her passion was contagious.

I don’t think I did a very good job conveying that passion to the kids. But I sure as heck tried! I wrote down questions for the younger ones and encouraged them to draw a picture they liked. I pointed out interesting facts, read the long quotes out loud, and babbled commentary. Guys, his art is so relevant even today. Isn’t that amazing? And, Look at all the hands. See how he draws small hands on the politicians he doesn’t like? If he were alive today, he’d be having a blast.

Two kids were begrudgingly compliant and one refused to appreciate anything, but my younger son, bless his heart, was totally into it. He had fun looking at Shahn’s photos and then finding the same people in his drawings. He asked questions that I couldn’t answer and got all wrapped up in copying one of the drawings.

The kids were ready to go after about thirty minutes, but I stretched our visit to an hour. I hoped that just by hanging out in the space, some bits and pieces of Shahn’s message would seep into their souls, shoring them up so they could spend their lives fighting for human rights.

Or just not killing each other.


This same time, years previous: the quotidian (3.30.15), babies and boobs, braided bread, grape kuchen with lemon glaze.


  • kay saylor

    I totally loved the "real" in this post. Other bloggers would have treated this very differently. I have had similar outings where I am so excited to give my daughter an "experience" that she seems to be fighting every step of the way. It is funny though how some of these are the most memorable to her later on. Just keep on trying and as you said, some of it will "seep" in.

  • Becky

    I love your photos! I was dragged to all manner of art shows as a kid and so I have felt it my parental duty to do the same to my own. Thankfully, she's been open to just about everything but the impressionists, which of course are my favorite. She's a Picasso fan.

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