2003-2004 Academic Year

Lopez Addresses Social Responsibility of Artist/Writer

March 2, 2004

Barry Lopez, essayist, short-story writer and international traveler talked to a full house in the Broad Performance Space on February 24. Lopez addressed the issue of the social responsibility of the artist/writer. With community members, students and faculty in attendance, Lopez focused on the importance of imagination and participating in life in a more three-dimensional, spiritually minded way as a means to success in life.

Barry LopezDrawing on his personal experiences traveling with indigenous peoples from Africa, North America and Australia, Lopez said it is important for artists and writers to feed their impulse of creativity in this fast-paced world.

Pitzer senior Kim Reyes said she was surprised but interested in what Lopez specifically talked about.

"I went to the talk thinking Lopez would talk about things like activism and boycotts but instead he delved into spirituality and harmony," Reyes said. "I left feeling empowered."

Discussing racism, liberty, community and perception adjustments in relation to the United States, Lopez said that socially responsible creativity is a result of making beautiful relationships with other people and nature.

Referencing the role of a traditional storyteller in his or her community, Lopez said artists and writers in the United States should emulate this role by recognizing disturbances and creating beautiful patterns to tell their stories.

"It is the responsibility of the storyteller to point out disturbances in the community that can help us change," he said. "The point of a story is not the point of it. A story is good when its patterns are beautiful and it makes people feel good."