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January 24, 2013

Host: José Cárdenas

Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award: Carole Coles Henry

  |   Video
  • The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has made Phoenix a better place through lifelong dedication of promoting social and economic justice. A conversation with Carole Coles Henry, the recipient of the 2013 Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award, about her leadership and service to the community.
  • Carole Coles Henry - Recipient, 2013 Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award
Category: Community   |   Keywords: community, award, ,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: Thank you for joining us. This week the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was honored across the country. Many celebrations took place in the valley. One was the 27th annual awards breakfast. A group of people received awards for their commitment to making society a better place. Carole Coles Henry received the Calvin C. Goode lifetime achievement award. Here's her perspective on being a social worker.

SOT: I'm passionate about social work. I think I was born for this area. I'm Carole Coles Henry. I have been affiliated with the school of social work since 1980. It's probably one of the very few disciplines in my opinion in higher education that includes all other disciplines. I think one of the hallmarks of this institution or not only the students who come here but they are the faculty who use their knowledge and expertise and their background and research and capabilities and their passion for teaching to make this one of the best viable programs I believe in the West Coast. So it's an institution that understands its role beyond the walls of higher education. Helping people to understand once you get to certification you take what you have and go out into society and to the world and make your Mark and you'll leave the world in a better condition than we found it in. We represent the well-being of all people as a profession, and who can argue with that? I say this all the time. Who can argue but that idea that we want to figure out a way to include everybody at the table or give everyone opportunity. Not to give a hand out, just a hand up. It's probably one of the best professions in my opinion anyone can seek out.

Jose Cardenas: As we said earlier there were five other individuals honored with a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., living the dream award. Ervin Cutright, Kenja Hassan, Lin Ling Lee, Lakhwinder Singh Rana Sodhi, and Robert L. Williams congratulations to them as well. Joining me is Carole Coles Henry, recipient of the Calvin C. Goode lifetime achievement award. Thank you for joining us. Before we get into some of the specifics of the award, maybe more of an elaboration of your views as a social worker, give us your background.
Carol Coles Henry: I moved to Phoenix in 1980. I had a 27 year career history with the city of Phoenix. I retired as opportunity director in 2007. I'm the great granddaughter of slaves in Virginia, the Coalfield farm in Virginia, a plantation. Still exists to this day. My parents raised us in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as people to strife towards getting your education. One of the things that was important in our family, you now you were going to go to college at a young age. So as a young person I always was interested in community. About the age of 13, when Dr. King died, April 4, 1968 was a very tough day in society throughout the United States and in my city. I remember looking out the window seeing the only store in my neighborhood burn to the ground. I liked those people. They were Asians. I would speak to them every day coming home from school. I vowed through Dr. King's death, the marches as a young person vowed to use my life to make a difference for other people. To fast forward to moving to Phoenix as a 25-year-old change agent, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, I had my social work master's degree in one hand and my bachelor of education in the other. I vowed to make a difference in this community. I'm honored to receive the Calvin C. Goode lifetime achievement award. He was my mentor, opened many doors for me and others in this community and left an incredible everlasting contribution whether it was through the headstart programs or the work enforcement programs, the Carver museum. To just have the opportunity to be mentioned in the same sentence as Dr. King and councilman Goode is extremely humbling for me.

Jose Cardenas: we have had the honor of having councilman Goode on our show. The low me ask you before we get into the specifics of the award, in the video you said that social work was the best profession. You went and lived that. Can you elaborate? Why do you think that is the case?

Carol Coles Henry: There's a code of ethics social workers live and work by. At the University of Pittsburgh where I graduated, they told us that social and economic justice were the preambles of the code of ethics for the national association of social workers. I felt that I was given a platform and had the responsibility to take that education which enabled me to come to Phoenix and to find a place where I could make a contribution to not only up lift communities that I worked in but to up lift people of color, women, the disabled, veterans, the down trodden, individuals of society. Social workers work in hospitals, we work in high schools. We're represented in terms of working in government agencies, youth centers, and the list goes on and on. Corporate entities. So some people are judges who started off with their degrees in social work. It's the backbone of anything you want to do in life. Through the affiliation and working with Arizona State University's community advisory board which I chair, we worked collectively with the school to hopefully identify additional ways to reach out to the community and share with folks that the social work profession is a growing profession. More veterans are coming back from the war and they need counseling. We have growing populations of the elderly. We need to ensure we have people prepared with the education to walk in and make the contributions to society.

Jose Cardenas: you told us in the video you were inspired or actually in your opening comments to get involved and to dedicate your life because of Dr. Martin Luther King. Now you get the award. What specifically was the basis for the award?

Carol Coles Henry: It's ironic. This award was established and created in an area I used to work in at the city of Phoenix, human relations. These were established to provide recognition to individuals upholding the tenets of Dr. King's dream of having a society where people were making contributions to up lift others, promoting civil rights within communities, individuals who not only were walking the -- talking the talk but walking the walk. Since 1988, early '90s, the individuals that have been recognized, the list is incredible. 6 For me to be mentioned in the same context is very humbling to me.

Jose Cardenas: There are other obvious connections with the award, this particular award this year. Barack Obama was sworn in for his second term. He used a Bible that had belonged to reverend king. What do you think is the significant of Martin Luther King today, many years after his death, and in the context of the inauguration of Barack Obama?

Carol Coles Henry: I went back and looked at his speeches, what he talked about. Dr. King is the gift that keeps on giving. He really gave us an incredible library of speeches and information in the contributions he made whether it was the marches in Alabama, Georgia, looking toward his work and talking about the Vietnam war. One of the things he talked about was -- it was a quote I used at the breakfast. It was something that really touched me personally that I live by. It was in the ends, what matters most is not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends. He called us all friends. We all collectively are friends. If we see an injustice in society we have a responsibility to address that and to up lift all people. Also the part of him discussing the silence that's deafening. When we who are agents of change, you don't have to be a social worker to be an agent of change. You're an agent of change, young people in the community are agents of change. 7 We have a responsibility to speak up, to use our voices. Once we speak Dr. King said we must have a record of profound action. The two go hand in hand.

Jose Cardenas: that point, now that we have not only elected once but twice a black president, is Martin Luther King's message still relevant? Is there more left to be done?

Carol Coles Henry: There's so much work left to be done. To celebrate Dr. King's memory on the inauguration day of president Barack Obama is just incredible. A lot of what he talked about in his speech related to the constitution and the discussion about we, the people. He talked about justice, to ensure that we have a society that is aware of the blessings that we should have for other people. He talked about equality for all people. That theme of the president's relates specifically to the dream of Dr. King, and so the two actually melded together and they go hand in hand. Based on all of the challenges that we have in society, the job is just not done. The end is not here. It's a comma, not a period. We have a lot of work to do in society whether we talk about the affordable health care issues, voter suppression, if we talk about access to affordable housing, overrepresentation of minorities in the justice system, the list goes on and on. What's happening around immigration policy reform, if we think that it's a period, that Dr. King's work once he did it was done, it's a period, we got it wrong. It's a comma. It continues. Society continues to evolve. The needs continue to need to be addressed.

Jose Cardenas: Even though theoretically you're retired but you continue to be active in your community. Thank you for joining us.

Carol Coles Henry: Thank you.

Sounds of Cultura SOC:

  |   Video
  • Jim Ballinger, Phoenix Art Museum Director, and Dr. Vanessa Davidson, Curator of Latin American Art for the Phoenix Art Museum, discuss 'Order, Chaos, and the Space Between: Contemporary Latin American Art from the Diana and Bruce Halle Collection,' an exhibition featuring many of the most cutting edge contemporary works produced in Latin America today. Also, there are works from the post-war period drawn from the Halle Collection, internationally renowned as one of the most significant collections of art of this region.
  • Jim Ballinger - Director, Phoenix Art Museum
  • Dr. Vanessa Davidson - Curator, Latin American Art for the Phoenix Art Museum
Category: Sounds of Cultura   |   Keywords: sounds, cultura, order, space, contemporary, latin american, art, ,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: In SOC, sounds of cultura, contemporary Latin American art from the Diane and Bruce Halle collection, produced today in Latin America. Joining me to talk about the exhibition is Jim Ballinger, Phoenix art museum director, also Dr. Vanessa Davidson. Thank you for joining us. 9 Jim, let’s start with you. Tell us how the collection came to be. We know the Halles are noted art collectors. How did it come to be they made the decision to do this exhibition?

Jim Ballinger: They have been involved in the museum for over two decades. In the mid-90s was looking to form a collection that could make a difference real here in Phoenix. In 1995, they bought their first work, and over the last 18 years, it's an exhibition that has grown into the hundreds of pieces. To have this exhibition with about 50 works of art by 40 artists carefully selected by Vanessa and the Halles's own curator is just an incredible opportunity to get a flavor of what's going on all over South America particularly and Mexico as well.

Jose Cardenas: this is consistent with what the museum has been doing in enhancing its focus in this area.

Jim Ballinger: As you know, Jose, from the very beginning the art museum has been involved with art of Mexico, has continued and expand wad we're doing. Vanessa is coming here with an endowed position as curator as part of this growth. We have done major exhibitions, the most recent Mexican modernism three years ago, which was a smash success here. I think this will be too. Here it's artists making a difference. Artists in the museum right now, one of the pieces we'll discuss tonight is being installed right in front of people's eyes as they walk into the lobby of the museum. It's a really great opportunity and it's also an effort of the Halles, some of the projects to bring ASU and the art museum together. There's a lot of commingling with the art department. We have even an arc texture professor at the university has created the primary design of the galleries for us. It's just a terrific opportunity. The museum will look in a way it has never looked before.

Jose Cardenas: Dr. Davidson, you come to us from New York where you had a very distinguished career. Tell us about that and what brought you to Phoenix.

Dr. Vanessa Davidson: Well, when I heard about this job opportunity, I looked into the Phoenix art museum's past and tried to imagine where it would go in the future. In 1957, two years before the museum was officially founded, there was an exhibition of Mexican modernist painting followed in 1968 by a retrospective. In '78 by a Carlos show, '84 Diego Rivera exhibition. I tried to see where they came from and where they might be going. In my conversation with the staff and Mr. Ballinger I realized there was so much room for expansion, for growth in this collection beyond Mexico. I think that since we are neighbors with Mexico we tend to focus our sights on just south of the border, but I think it would be a wonderful opportunity for us for our whole community of residents in Phoenix and greater valley to look further south. To look at Cuba, to look at the Dominican Republic. To look at Puerto Rico. To look to Brazil. That's one of the things this exhibition helps bring about. This is truly revolutionary I think in two ways. The first way is that the first time in the museum's history we'll have so many seminal works of art from such diverse countries as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Ecuador -- Venezuela and Mexico under one roof. We'll be collecting these diverse works and showing them off to best effect in this exhibition. The second way it's revolutionary is it will help broaden our audiences "Horizon" beyond Mexico, create a space between, if you will, between what current perceptions of what Latin American art is and hopefully what they will gain from exhibition is a more nuanced understanding of how rich, diverse and complex the artistic manifestations from Latin American art actually are.

Jose Cardenas: A few words about your background and work in New York.

Dr. Vanessa Davidson: sure. I received my Ph.D. from the institute of fine arts, New York university. While living in New York I worked with the metropolitan museum on a colonial show called the colonial and December. Textiles and Silver work from 1530 to 1830. I gained a lot of experience working there for three years. I very nearly went the colonial route. Part of my attraction to this job in Phoenix was we also have a wonderful collection of colonial art. Which maybe perhaps people don't recognize up on the second floor in the gallery. I was very attracted to this museum and this collection because of its strength in both colonial and 20th century art.

Jose Cardenas: focusing on the contemporary art, we have about five photographs of pieces. The first one, a Brazilian artist.

Dr. Vanessa Davidson: the first artwork is by Antonio GIAZ. It was created in 1970, called the space between. It consists of a black granite cube with white docks and a white cube with black dots. The black cube there's the words the beginning. The white cube, the words the end. In this work he reminds us although everything in life has a beginning and end, it's the space between that counts. It evokes a continuous presence Atime and space in a latent state of becoming. In this way I think this works as a metaphor for the Halle collection, which continues to grow and evolve and expand in new directions.

Jose Cardenas: The next piece is I think the piece that Jim was talking about when he said people will have an opportunity to see before the exhibition opens actually it's being prepared now.

Dr. Vanessa Davidson: It’s being prepared as we speak. It's called black cloud. It's by a Mexican artist named Carlos Morales. What's so intriguing about this artwork beyond its haunting beauty is it turns the technique of collage on its head. You associate it with paper upon paper or paper upon canvas, but what he has done here is turned the gallery space into a canvas for collage. What you see when you come to this work is what from afar is a hovering black cloud above the exhibition space. When we draw closer what you see are a series of surrealistic insects poised in sculptural formations on the wall. Each of the 30,000 paper moths and butterflies has been painstakingly pasted to the wall by hand.

Jose Cardenas: the next one you'll have the trouble keeping the school kids away from this one. We want people -- you want people to partake of this particular exhibition.

Jim Ballinger: 75 pounds of candy. The viewer is actually invited to take a piece of candy from that piece. I think it's about the temporal life we're in. You watch this thing kind of get smaller and smaller. It's also a metaphor for the artist partner who passed away. Had to do with the inception of some of this work with watching a life go from beginning to ends and comes back to the exact metaphor that Vanessa was talking about. This whole idea with the title of order and chaos, the space between, is a very almost literal interpretation for me of the polarity of Latin American art since World War II.

Jose Cardenas: We have two more pieces to get through quickly before we run out of time.

Dr. Vanessa Davidson: sure. Carlos is one of the protagonists -- in Venezuela. He really transformed color and light, effects of light, into his raw materials. It dates from 1965 to 2008 when they were refabricated are slats of plexiglas sheets of color. When you move around you look through these, you get a new perception of color. The colors co-mingle upon your retina and create a very interesting optical effect. As in most of the kinetic artwork from Venezuela the piece does not work, the speck at that timor make the work kinetic.

Jose Cardenas: this last one reflects some of the turmoil that's often engulfed various Latin American countries.

Dr. Vanessa Davidson: yes. He's Colombian. As we all know Colombia has gone through a terrible -- many decades of violence, civil war. What Salcedo has done in this work -- it's an untranslatable title but it comes from the Latin term -- in mourning and rage. What she has done in this work is to collect women's shoes who disappeared, and she has cut niches into the wall and sewn up this wound with a suture of surgical thread. With animal skins in front of them. Often when people went missing their bodies could be identified in mass graves only by the shoes they wore.

Jose Cardenas: We have information about the exhibition on the screen and a book that just came off the press.

Jim Ballinger: today. It's a series of articles documenting this exhibition. I was taken by leafing through it how accessible this work really is. To the kinetic idea, there's a lot of interactive going on, the scale of things, powerful color. I think are attractions to people that normally wouldn't be drawn to it.

Jose Cardenas: I'm sorry, we're out of time. Thank you both for being here. That's our show for tonight. I'm Jose Cardenas. Have a good night.