Crystal Bridges - Evening Talk: Yo-Yo Ma and Carrie Mae Weems

November 10th, 2022 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

This conversation is hosted in honor of Crystal Bridges’ free exhibition “We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy” exploring the importance of the U.S. Constitution and free speech to democracy. Drawing from their careers and experiences as artists and social advocates, the speakers will share their perspectives on the role of artists and their civic duties.

Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and three years later moved with his family to New York City, where he continued his cello studies at the Juilliard School before pursuing a liberal arts education at Harvard. He has received numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010), Kennedy Center Honors (2011), and the Polar Music Prize (2012). He has performed for nine American presidents, most recently on the occasion of President Biden’s inauguration.

Yo-Yo Ma’s multifaceted career is testament to his enduring belief in culture’s power to generate trust and understanding. In addition to his work as a performing artist, Yo-Yo has partnered with communities and institutions from Chicago to Guangzhou to develop programs that advocate for a more human-centered world. Among his many roles, Yo-Yo is a UN Messenger of Peace, the first artist ever appointed to the World Economic Forum’s board of trustees, and a member of the board of Nia Tero, the US-based nonprofit working in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and movements worldwide.

Considered one of the most influential contemporary American artists, Carrie Mae Weems has investigated family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems and the consequences of power. Determined as ever to enter the picture – both literally and metaphorically – Weems has sustained an ongoing dialogue within contemporary discourse for over 30 years. During this time, she has developed a complex body of art employing photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation and video.

Weems has received numerous awards, grants and fellowships, including the prestigious Prix de Roma, The National Endowment of the Arts, The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, the Anonymous Was a Woman, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award. In 2012, Weems was presented with one of the first US Department of State’s Medals of Arts in recognition for her commitment to the State Department’s Art in Embassies program. In 2013 Weems received the MacArthur “Genius” grant as well as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
This program will be part of educational resources for teachers through ArkansasIDEAS. ArkansasIDEAS connects K-12 educators with quality, ADE-approved professional development and educational opportunities, as well as a wide range of trainings on multiple platforms, thousands of classroom resources, and state and national initiatives.

Crystal Bridges Lectures & Talks are sponsored by Del Monte Foods, Inc. “We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy” is sponsored by Kenneth C. Griffin. Learning and engagement programming for “We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy” is sponsored by: Scholastic Inc.; Walmart; Tyson Family Foundation; Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr. Foundation; Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates, & Woodyard, P.L.L.C.; Johnny and Jeanie Morris, Bass Pro Shops; Alturas Foundation; Harriet and Warren Stephens, Stephens Inc.; Sotheby’s; Bob and Becky Alexander; Marybeth and Micky Mayfield; Lamar and Shari Steiger; Jeff and Sarah Teague/Citizens Bank; Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities; Avis and Bill Bailey; Scarlett and Neff Basore; June Carter Family; Terri and Chuck Erwin; Jackye and Curtis Finch; The Harrison and Rhonda French Family; Jim and Susan von Gremp; Laurice Hachem; Shannon and Charles Holley; Valorie and Randy Lawson/Lawco Energy Group; Donna and Mack McLarty; Steve and Susan Nelson; Neal and Gina Pendergraft; Helen Porter; JT and Imelda Rose; Lee and Linda Scott; Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Catherine and Michael Mayton, Trustees; and William Reese Company.

Additional information is available at crystalbridges.org.