Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Join the International Conference on: How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?

Empathic Design
Empathy Circles

  Restorative Empathy Circles
Empathy Tent

Expert Interviews
Obama on Empathy


    Empathy Tests


Culture of Empathy Builder:  Karleen Gardner

Center for Empathy and Visual Arts
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Karleen Gardner

Karleen Gardner is Director of Learning at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She also heads up the Center for Empathy and Visual Arts.

Mia envisions taking a leading role in collaborating with museum colleagues as well as researchers, scholars, content experts, and other influencers to research and explore practices for fostering empathy and global awareness through the power of art and to share these findings with the field.

In our increasingly divisive world, polarized by issues regarding politics, racial inequities, marriage equality, global warming, income disparities, and immigration policies, it becomes clear that our failures to understand other people’s feelings are exacerbating prejudice, conflict, and inequality.



Musée du Louvre - Hubert Robert (Wikipedia)


If we wish to develop not only a more equal society but a happier and more creative one, we will need to look outside ourselves and attempt to identify with the experiences of others. This critical skill is called empathy, which “has the power to transform relationships, from the personal to the political, and create fundamental social change.





Center for Empathy and Visual Arts: Minneapolis Institute of Art:

Karleen Gardner & Edwin Rutsch




Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts


Project Timeline:

  • October 2017 – Berkeley Think Tank

  • Winter 2018 – hire research manager

  • March 2018 – workshop with Mia Staff (Greater Good Science Center)

  • Late March 2018 – partner kick off

  • Late March 2018 – develop research plan

  • Spring 2018 – build tool (digital) to measure empathy, including prototypes to test

  • Spring 2018 – start tests on two groups 1) 18+ general museum visitors (may include families); school groups (treatment and control group/ in order); use tool to measure impact