Clarity In Carolina

By Peter Cronin | Thursday, October 5, 2017 | No Comments

We paid our first-ever visit to Charleston, South Carolina for a family wedding this past weekend, and took the opportunity to soak up some of the history, the people, and the good food of this beautiful city.

Charleston offers a uniquely laid-back southern charm, and doesn’t shy away from its unsavory history as the center of the slave trade. We always try to visit one museum when we’re in a new place, so we walked through the palmetto-lined streets (dodging tourist-laden, horse-drawn carriages), to the Gibbes Museum of Art.

The Gibbes Museum explores the unique-and-evolving aesthetic tastes of Charleston and the American South through paintings, sculptures, miniature portraits, decorative art objects, and multi-media installations. Ranging from the Colonial period to the present, the work on display at the Gibbes Museum provides a clarity and perspective that no tour guide could match.

Back in 2013, studying the effects of school tours to museums, researchers Brian Kisida, Jay P. Greene, and Daniel H. Bowen found that “strong causal relationships do in fact exist between arts education and a range of desirable outcomes.” In other words, museums are good, especially for kids.

“Visiting an art museum exposes students to a diversity of ideas that challenge them with different perspectives on the human condition,” the researchers concluded. “Students demonstrated stronger critical thinking skills and displayed higher levels of social tolerance.”

All of the above is on display every day at the Gibbes Museum of Art. As we drove out of Charleston, we reflected on some great memories and one important lesson –art can play a crucial role in opening hearts and minds, and helping to heal old wounds.

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