Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Artists Building a Culture of Empathy
The Art of Living Black
> Overview <   Event Outline



Greetings TAOLB artists and extended community.  As Hershell West announced, we will be working together on a year long exploration of TAOLB: Artists Building a Culture of Empathy.  Stay tuned to the next Newsletter for announcements about this important year long exploration. 


Join the Planning Team
First join the yahoo Empathy discussion list.  This it where we can plan the project and the events together. Our first task is to find a meeting space for holding Empathy Cafe meetings.  Do you know of a space?


Pass on the word to your friends and invite them to subscribe to the Empathy Cafe newsletter to keep up on latest developments. Send me or Hershell an email if you would like to take part  and especially if you'd like to be on the organizing and planning team.

2007 Inspiration and TAOLB Documentary.
See the video of our past TAOLB project exploring the experience of inspiration. We interviewed participating fine artists about their experience with finding inspiration for their life and work. Has over 160 video clips.

First Introductions Video
A short video of the initial announcement. Hershell, Steven, Edwin and Joan announce the TAOLB empathy project. Initial planning team: Hershell West, Steven Hopkins, Edwin Rutsch, Joan Kuenz


Hershell West announces: TAOLB: Building a Culture of Empathy project

     For Art of Living Black 15th anniversary something special

     TAOLB will team up with Edwin and Joan

     create video and art project exploring empathy

     reach out to the larger community

     had 40 people sign up so far

Steven Hopkins

     this project is a wonderful fit for the TAOLB

     want to bring in the youth

Edwin Rutsch

     we had a lot of fun with the TAOLB inspiration project

     inspired by Obama talking about the importance of empathy

     he say the country has an empathy deficit we need to fill

Joan Kuenz

     would like to see an empathy art exhibit

     and use multi media arts


TAOLB Artists Talk at the Richmond Art Center about the Empathy Project
TAOLB - Building a Culture 
of Empathy - 2-20-2010 - Empathy Documentary  
  • Hershell West

    • introduces TAOLB: Building a Culture of Empathy project

  • Phil Palmer

    • I like the idea about empathy and community project

    • getting out and connecting

  • Patricia M. Patterson

    • walking in some else's moccasin

  • Malik Seneferu

    • major part of empathy - need to make sure you strengthen your home first

    • need empathy at home

    • a good project to take to youth

    • and the families in Richmond

  • Elizabeth Carter

    • mentoring between artists

    • is a fantastic thing

    • is extremely lacking

    • with kids

    • need to love yourself

    • accept yourself so you can accept others

  • Shawn Weeden

    • empathy is a good thing

    • bring in the youth is a good thing

    • it opens up and provides growth

    • we need to understand each other

    • our experiences are not all the same

  • Kelvin Curry

    • through about Haiti

    • is something that's needed and makes the world work


TAOLB Artists Talk at Mills College Exhibit about the Empathy Project
Ajuan Mance
TAOLB - Building a Culture 
of Empathy - Ajuan Mance - Empathy Documentary  
  • painter, draws figurative work

  • looking forward to being part of the empathy project

  • it's an important theme

  • curious what other artists have to say

  • looking forward to the year

Atiba Sylvia Thomas
Movie 07 TAOLB   Building a
 Culture of Empathy   Atiba Sylvia Thomas  
  • was thinking about empathy

  • empathy is about understanding and encouraging someone

  • her artwork titled: Peace Be Still, - it is to encourage herself

  • helps empathy to be still - to be peaceful for a while

  • it gives a push into being empathetic

  • excited about the empathy project

Howard Mackey
TAOLB - Building a Culture 
of Empathy - Howard Mackey - Empathy Documentary  
  • definitely interested in taking part in the TAOLB empathy project

  • work in water color

  • met friends here in TAOLB

  • get inspiration from old black and white photos of people who have been enslaved

  • can empathies with people of the past and see their strength

Jason Austin
 TAOLB - Building a Culture 
of Empathy - Jason Austin - Empathy Documentary  
  • was aware of empathy as a kid and it kept him out of trouble

  • when you imagine what other people are going through it helps you

  • looking forward to TAOLB empathy project

  • enjoyed the last inspiration project - makes you think about your artwork

  • get a chance to communicate with other artists

Julee Richardson
TAOLB - Building a Culture 
of Empathy - Julee Richardson
  • ceramic sculpture

  • wants to take part in the TAOLB empathy project

  • would be a wonderful thing

  • we have to begin to feel for one another

  • have to begin to look at and feel for people who are in pain, are lost, are addicted

  • 1 in 10 young African American males are incarcerated

  • her work addresses this

  • empathy for people in that situation

  • connection of mother and child

  • wants to generate a response of empathy by viewer of  art piece of dysfunctional drug addicted mother

Justice Renaissance
TAOLB - Building a Culture of Empathy - 
Justice Renaissance
  • looking forward to empathy project

  • worked with Edwin on inspiration project - it was inspiring

  • Edwin has a lot of empathy for art and artist (thanks Justice)

  • I'm looking forward to see what I can bring to the project


Karen Oyekanm
TAOLB - Building a Culture 
of Empathy - Karen Oyekanmi - Empathy Documentary  
  • doll artist

  • sculpt in clay and porcelain

  • look forward to taking part in TAOLB Empathy project

  • empathy is a deep word

  • brings up a lot of feelings, how to relate to people in need

  • love relationships

Lorraine Bonner
TAOLB - Building a Culture of Empathy - 
Lorraine Bonner - Empathy Documentary  
  • is a sculpture

  • have done a lot of thinking about empathy

  • a great topic

  • is the foundation of social reconstruction/rehabilitation that we need to do

  • is exciting TAOLB will be working on this

  • will be fun to work with that

  • Part 2 - at Richmond Art Center talk

  • studied empathy for some time

  • it's build into us

  • now society is more domination oriented

  • people want to be harmonious

  • We can see it happening now,  a move to more empathy

    • i.e. trying to create a department of peace

    • civil rights was a move to more empathy

  • Health care vrs domination society

  • privilege - the people who are destroying society by not seeing, hearing

    • coming out of their mouth is barbed wire, exclusion, electric shocks

  • I believe in empathy

  • we need new ways and tools to deal with those who will not respond to empathy

Paula de Joie
TAOLB - Building a Culture 
of Empathy - Paula de Joie - Empathy Documentary  
  • mixed media artist from Berkeley

  • interested in TAOLB empathy project

  • loved previous inspiration project

  • empathy is essential to artists in particular

  • it's about feeling and connecting

  • her work is about ancestors and transition and connection

  • has to put herself into other peoples shoes for her art to be true

  • everyone has a story

  • her art brings that out

  • art is about bringing that out

  • looking forward to participating in TAOLB Empathy project

Ron Carter
  • many people in this county are lacking empathy

  • there's a lot of the opposite of empathy now - hate

    • there's a pride in being unempathic

  • a conference on empathy makes sense, we need it

  • can arrive at an understanding

  • need to broach the problem

  • many don't know the word empathy but do it

  • what do you think about the project?

  • it ties in with a lot of what he's seen, a mean spiritedness

  • sees a happy mean spiritedness, i.e. some people like being mean

  • I'm ready to find a new way

  • being an artist, you need to be empathetic

  • I am prepared to take part in TAOLB empathy project

  • if your not part of the solution your part of the problem and I refuse to be part of the problem

Ron Moultrie Saunder
TAOLB - Building a Culture of Empathy - 
Ron Moultrie Saunders - Empathy Documentary  
  • TAOLB empathy project, don't want to over commit

  • great to have a theme or community,

  • but not ready yet to commit to the project