This article is a part of the "My Experience with MEG" series, in which past recipients discuss how the Membership Empowerment Grant enhanced their careers.
Every previous winner of a Membership Empowerment Grant (MEG) I spoke to about applying said the same thing: “It changed my life.” I now add my voice to the chorus.
Last spring, the New York Women in Communications Foundation selected my application for funds to study philosophy of art. I aspire to enjoy a fourth career as an arts writer, following successful stints as a journalist, public relations professional and independent business writer. Shifting my writing focus seems the perfect way to combine my well-honed communications skills with my personal passion for the arts.
In late August, I found myself sitting in a classroom at Baruch College with some 25 students the age of my sons, all of them polite, welcoming and smart. Having never taken a philosophy course, I wasn’t sure what to expect but realized immediately that I was in for intellectual bootcamp.
For example the ideas we discussed in readings and classes during the semester included:
- Why do we become emotionally involved with fictional characters?
- How can pure music, i.e. music without words, evoke an emotional response in the listener?
- What is the place of art in a democratic republic?
- What is beauty?
Philosophers raise more questions than answers but asking good questions and learning how to work through possible answers is a skill to be admired and cultivated. At this moment, I don’t know how exactly this course will affect my future work, but I can say that I will never again watch a play or film, listen to a symphony or gaze at a painting the same way. I no longer can be a passive consumer of art, merely looking without thinking. So, I guess the MEG changed my life, too.
Thank you NYWICI Foundation and Professor Jonathan Gilmore!