What does it mean to be educated? Through her evocative paintings and narrative, author
Arlene Goldbard has portrayed eleven people whose work most influenced her—what she calls a camp of angels. She sees each as a brave messenger of love and freedom for a society that badly needs “uncolonized minds.” Goldbard describes how the learning from each changed the course of her life in essays that offer generative moments of a life in art and social change. She also reveals ways a dominant society tried to put a first-generation American from a socially marginal family in her place—and failed. Readers will learn about the author’s own self education, issues of formal higher education and its discontents, and the damage done by a society that prizes profits over people. Goldbard asks readers to consider the impact of credentialism on U.S. society and what we can do to set it right.
The “angels” whose work shaped Goldbard’s life are Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, James Baldwin, Nina Simone, Paul Goodman, Doris Lessing, Alice Neel, Paulo Freire, Isaiah Berlin, John Trudell, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Jane Jacobs. Despite their many differences, each had the gift of questioning assumptions, looking beneath surfaces, and imagining without bounds. The author invites readers to scrutinize their own educations and to honor their own angels.
“I’m thunderstruck! Arlene Goldbard’s new love-bomb-of-a-book—In the Camp of Angels of Freedom! What if, instead of spending all your time fighting off demons, you open up the doors to your angels? What if, instead of regretting all you shoulda, you acknowledge the overflowing sources of love in the education that is your very own life? What if you now take flight with these angels, free at last to envision a New Everything? All of which is grounded in your own experiences, your own life? Here is the path—fly!” – Bob Holman
About the presenters:
is a New Mexico–based writer, visual artist, speaker, consultant, and cultural activist. She is the author of multiple papers, reports, and books, including New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development, and her essays have appeared in Art in America, The Independent, High Performance, and Tikkun. She is Chief Policy Wonk Emerita of the US Department of Arts and Culture and was one of 2015’s “fifty most powerful and influential people in the nonprofit arts.” Goldbard cohosts the podcast, A Culture of Possibility, with François Matarasso. She is the 2019 recipient of the Randy Martin Spirit Award from Imagining America.
is the founder of the Bowery Poetry Club and the author of 22 poetry collections
(print/audio/video), most recently two books written fifty years apart. He has taught at
Princeton, Columbia, NYU, Yale, and The New School. As the original Slam Master and a director at the Nuyorican Poets Café, creator of the world’s first spoke poetry record labor, and the founder and director of the Bowery Poetry Club, Holman has played a central role in the spoken word, slam, and digital poetry movements of the last several decades. All told, he has performed well over one thousand times, around the globe, from Madison Square Garden and rock stadiums to church basements and Ethiopian tej bets (honey wine bars). Holman’s study of hip-hop and West African oral traditions led to his current work with endangered languages. He is co-founder of the Endangered Language Alliance and host of Language Matters. He is the producer/director/host of various films, including The United States of Poetry and On the Road with Bob Holman.