The Larger Conversation

Programs at the Gardner

A gutsy series that connects current issues with Isabella's story and collection. Informal and intimate, these discussions explore the intersection of creativity, lived experience, and social justice.

Recent Virtual Programs

The Larger Conversation: Museums and Arts Activism
Museums preserve history and traditions, while using their collections and exhibitions to spark curiosity, encourage conversation, and share knowledge. Given the current health crisis and discussions of racism in America, should museums also be seen as places for social change? Are museums open to making space for community conversations that may challenge their own inherent cultures and systems of perceived power, racism, and colonialism? Join Black and Brown artists and educators for a lively conversation among individuals who are using activism to critique and explore how museums and cultural institutions can support change. Participants include:

  • Tory Bullock, Actor, Arts Activist & Educator
  • L'Merchie Frazier, Director of Education and Interpretation, Museum of African American History
  • Chanel Thervil, Artist and Educator, Boston’s Apollo Community Collaborator
  • Golden, Artist, Poet, and ISGM Neighborhood Salon Luminary
  • Catherine T. Morris, Director of Public Programs

Video by The Loop Lab

The Larger Conversation: The Rearview Mirror of Queerness and Erasure
Leaving behind home, friends, and family to discover one’s true identity can be both liberating and challenging. The contemporary uncertainty around John Singer Sargent’s painting of Thomas McKeller featured in Boston's Apollo: Thomas McKeller and John Singer Sargent raises questions of intentionality and whose lived experience is reflected for public consumption and/or acceptance. Join Community Collaborators and Michelle Grohe, Esther Stiles Eastman Curator of Education for a candid conversation focused on queerness and erasure. Participants include:

  • Theo Tyson, Boston’s Apollo Community Collaborator and Polly Thayer Starr Fellow in American Art and Culture, the Boston Athenaeum
  • Daniel Corral, Artist and Boston’s Apollo Community Collaborator
  • Michelle Grohe, Esther Stiles Eastman Curator of Education

Upcoming Programming

April 22, 2021
The Larger Conversation: Synergy of Dance in Our Lives 

Just like language, the field of dance has evolved through innovation and lived experiences. Dance is about a feeling, a connection to something bigger, spiritual, or personal. Shen Wei’s approach focuses on a transference of energy throughout the body that involves thoughtful collaboration and intentionality. Hear experts in the field discuss the individual and collective impact of dance.

May 13, 2021
The Larger Conversation: Delicate Blend

Like Shen Wei’s paintings that explore both traditional Chinese and contemporary art practices, the lives of Asian-Americans blend Eastern and Western values, traditions, and cultural experiences.

During this conversation, hear from Asian-Americans in Boston discuss how they each approach navigating life in the United States in 2021, while maintaining a connection to their traditional cultural heritage, and the challenges or dissonance that they experience as a result.