February 11, 2014

Do the Arts Make Us Better People? A Special Talk at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

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Do the Arts Make Us Better People? A Special Talk at Segerstrom Center for the Arts Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Moderated by Jori Finkel, Contributing Arts Writer, The New York Times

No one asks engineers or physicians to explain the purpose of their profession, but people who work in fine arts and literature, music and theater can expect to defend a career choice that was, at the very least, financially unwise. But maybe the value of the arts isn’t something that can, or should, be quantified.

While some research suggests that reading fiction makes us more empathetic and that listening to music can make us happier, it’s difficult to measure the inspiration that can come from a streak of light across a canvas, the way a story set in a foreign land can shift a worldview, and why getting fully immersed in a performance is so uplifting. How do the arts change our lives and our behavior in ways we don’t expect and often can’t put into words? Can experiencing a sublime work of art or the majesty of an opera not just bring us pleasure but make us more humane people?

New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean, Getty Trust President and CEO James Cuno, and Segerstrom Center for the Arts President Terrence W. Dwyer visit Zócalo to discuss the role the arts play in shaping our selves.

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Special thanks to our conference host, Copper Mountain College!




Drs. Ernest & Dorothy Garcia


Arts Sustainers

Randy Polumbo

KOA Corporation Planning & Engineering

San Bernardino Art Association

The Ranch Projects Publishing

Joshua Tree Music Festival


Arts Advocates

Paulson Orthodontics

Mojave Desert Land Trust

Cultural Planning Group

Gruen Associates

The Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art

The Ontario Museum of History and Art

The Community Foundation

The Noah Purifoy Foundation

Harrison House Music, Arts & Ecology

Pappy & Harriets

Bobby Furst 

The Joshua Tree Inn


Arts Friends

Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency (JTHAR)

Chaffey College, School of Visual & Performing Arts

High Desert Test Sites

Elwood & Associates

Inlandia Institute


Special thanks to Copper Mountain College for our hosting the conference this year!









The Garcia Center for the Arts
536 W. 11th Street
San Bernardino, CA 92410

Tel: 909.381.1900

mailing address:

5500 University Parkway
Visual Arts Building, Rm. 308
San Bernardino, CA 92407

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