LOS ANGELES, CA—The Skirball Cultural Center announces A Path Appears: Actions for a Better World, an exhibition designed to spark a commitment to human rights and underscore the potential of grassroots action. Inspired by the recent bestseller A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, A Path Appears: Actions for a Better World celebrates how ordinary people can develop and implement workable solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Drawing upon stories told in the book, the unique hybrid of gallery installation and community engagement project aims to motivate visitors to find their own paths to helping others. It will premiere during the holiday giving season, on November 19, 2015, and remain on view through February 21, 2016.
“The exhibition seeks to answer the question ‘What can I do to make a difference?’” explains Robert Kirschner, Skirball Museum Director. “With A Path Appears, working in collaboration with some of today’s most innovative and influential storytellers, the Skirball is creating a laboratory for social change—a place to learn, share, and take steps that can make a real difference in the lives of others.”
To develop the exhibition, the Skirball has partnered with a special guest curator, Neal Baer, MD, a pediatrician and Emmy-nominated television writer and producer (ER, Law & Order: SVU, Under the Dome) who combines his passion for medicine and storytelling to explore a spectrum of social and political topics. Baer remarks, “Drawing on A Path Appears to design an interactive exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center combines my passion for storytelling with innovative ways to promote social change. Visitors will be introduced to a variety of compelling programs that are changing lives around the world. At the end of the exhibition, they will be invited to get involved with the projects that most inspired them by using my new social-action platform, ActionLab. I can't think of a more rewarding project I’ve worked on that uses storytelling as a springboard to action.”
A Path Appears is presented in cooperation with the WORLD Policy Analysis Center and the Global Media Center for Social Impact at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. The centers have provided expert guidance to the Skirball endeavor by identifying the four fundamental human needs that will be addressed in the gallery: education, health, good jobs, and empowerment. Each of these critical humanitarian issues will be presented in an imaginatively designed “pavilion” constructed from repurposed materials. An array of compelling photographs, film, stories, audio testimonies, and innovative healthcare products for the developing world will be displayed. As visitors will discover in the themed pavilions, for the overwhelming majority of the world’s population, the ability to meet basic needs is determined by the quality of people’s work and what they earn. Health and education lay the foundation for the kind of work each person can do, while equal rights ensure that everyone has the same chances to meet his/her potential.
Internationally renowned researcher on global health and social policy Jody Heymann, MD, PhD, who serves as Dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, comments, “Together, we can transform the conditions under which people live around the world. We know what the key ingredients are for truly creating equal opportunities: a foundation of healthy living conditions, accessible quality education, working conditions that make it possible to succeed, and equal rights that ensure all can participate fully on a level playing field.”
A Path Appears culminates in a section where visitors can access ActionLab, a mobile-friendly social-action tool, conceived and created by Baer, that uses storytelling to bridge awareness and action. Through ActionLab, a project of the Global Media Center for Social Impact at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, visitors will be offered direct, concrete opportunities to support and advocate for organizations such as Chrysalis, South Central Scholars, Save the Children, Planet Aid, Child Rights International Network, D-Rev, SHE, IDEO, and We Care. Baer, cofounder of the Global Media Center for Social Impact and adjunct professor at the Fielding School, explains, “The exhibition will culminate with ActionLab.org, which will tap into the inspiration visitors feel and channel it into actions visitors can take to make a real difference in the world. Every action will be tied to a story or organization featured in the exhibition.”
Baer continues, “For example, after learning about the power of using design to improve one's community from the trailer for If You Build It, featured in the empowerment pavilion, visitors will be prompted to encourage a local design or architectural firm to donate 1% of their time to pro-social projects; and after being inspired by the story of Shining Hope for Communities, an organization that empowers girls by helping them work to improve their communities, college students will be invited to apply to their summer institute in Nairobi, where they will help run a summer camp for girls.”
A Path Appears marks the second time the Skirball has collaborated with Kristof and WuDunn on an exhibition. In late October 2011 through May 2012, the Skirball presented Women Hold Up Half the Sky, which was based upon Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, the critically hailed volume by Kristof and WuDunn. Popular with school groups and museum visitors alike, Women Hold Up Half the Sky resulted in thousands of advocacy postcards to elected representatives and prompted numerous $1 microloans to women entrepreneurs around the world.
“Solving the biggest challenges we face as a global community requires us to work together,” says Kirschner. “Created in the spirit of Women Hold Up Half the Sky, this new exhibition, A Path Appears, has been conceived as an immersive, visceral journey that engages the public in dialogue—one that will ignite social activism and turn inspiration into action.”
More information on A Path Appears, including press previews and related public programs, will be announced in October.
A PATH APPEARS: ACTIONS FOR A BETTER WORLD IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM:
Neal Baer Edna McConnell Clark Foundation
Hewlett Packard The Eileen Harris Norton Foundation
Sidhu-Singh Family Foundation
Phoebe Snow Foundation
About the Skirball
The Skirball Cultural Center is dedicated to exploring the connections between 4,000 years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals. It welcomes and seeks to inspire people of every ethnic and cultural identity. Guided by our respective memories and experiences, together we aspire to build a society in which all of us can feel at home. The Skirball Cultural Center achieves its mission through educational programs that explore literary, visual, and performing arts from around the world; through the display and interpretation of its permanent collections and changing exhibitions; through an interactive family destination inspired by the Noah’s Ark story; and through outreach to the community.
Visiting the Skirball
The Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049. Museum hours: Tuesday–Friday 12:00–5:00 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; closed Mondays and holidays. Admission to exhibitions: $10 General; $7 Seniors, Full-Time Students, and Children over 12; $5 Children 2–12. Exhibitions are always free to Skirball Members and Children under 2. Exhibitions are free to all visitors on Thursdays. For general information, the public may call (310) 440-4500 or visit skirball.org. The Skirball is also home to Zeidler’s Café, which serves innovative California cuisine in an elegant setting, and Audrey’s Museum Store, which sells books, contemporary art, music, jewelry, and more