During the morning of day 10, before driving out to Tulsa, my father and I decided to catch some culture in Fort Worth and went to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth.
The were many works about "Cowboys and Indians" that I, at one point, got fed up with the narrative, but after those exhibits were passe it explored more of the works of art done by Americans and those living in America.
(Left to right then down)
Plexus no. 34 (2016) by Gabriel Dawes
Swing Landscape (1938) by Stuart Davis
Amon G. Carter (2008) by Scott Gentling
Admission to the museum is free.
At the end of our time there, I decided to interview a woman that works there that said she was not particularly busy. She was welcoming and willing to answer questions, but I felt that, given her position, she had to give very diplomatic answers, careful not to say anything controversial that could be misconstrued as being the formal position of the museum on the topic, and possibly cost her her job. And I respected that.
There was not much aside from her contentment with the community of Fort Worth that I was able to get, but she did offer up an interesting response to my question about issues with the community.
She noted that the community she knows the best is the art community there, and it is difficult for newcomers to break into circles and get to know the right people so that they may be able to sponsor them or just help them get their name out there. This conversation about how exclusive and elitist these circles can be was not new to me, but it made me think about how people can self-define what community they belong to.
Sure, there are certain communities that people are going to immediately associate with you based upon solely physical criteria (race, residential area, etc.), but the rest is totally up to you. You can identify with those that share a profession as you, which is part of the driving force behind unions (there would be no unifying force to support collective bargaining if there was an identification of a community to begin with), hobbies, interests, and the list goes on and on.
Then we get into other conversations of prioritizing your communities and how you contribute to them, but it all starts with the social idea of people that share a similar something, really anything, and coming together on it.
I figured this may affect how people view and interpret the news. An ecologist community is outraged over climate change, but those working in manufacturing and shipping may view it as an incidental byproduct of their job, something to support them and theirs.
Communities can be beneficial, toxic, involved, destructive, etc. but we have to know what we want to belong to before we can make any substantial comment on how it works, because observing and experiencing are two different things.