Press Release

Exploring the Intersection of Arts and Human Rights

September 05, 2016

Exploring the Intersection of Arts and Human Rights

Rothko Chapel hosts second annual Farenthold Lecture featuring Darren Walker

HOUSTON – September 6, 2016 – Can art change the world?

Join Darren Walker as he examines how artistic expression can be used to enact social change with his lecture, “Yes Justice, Yes Peace: The Role of Art in Confronting Inequality.”

The event will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3 at the Rothko Chapel, located at 3900 Yupon St.

This presentation is the Chapel’s 2016 Frances Tarlton “Sissy” Farenthold Endowed Lecture in Peace, Social Justice and Human Rights.

The Chapel is presenting the event in partnership with the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

This marks the second lecture in the annual series, honoring Frances T. Farenthold for her work fighting for social justice.

Farenthold, a former board chair at Rothko Chapel, was the first female gubernatorial candidate in Texas.

Farenthold had a history of exposing and responding to injustices as both a public servant and a citizen. The lecture series named in her honor aims to bring internationally renowned scholars, activists and politicians to Austin and Houston.

The Rothko Chapel’s executive director David Leslie believes the series will inspire the community to think and act creatively in response to some of the greatest challenges of the 21st century.

“At the chapel, the three legs of our stool, so to speak, are art, spirituality and human rights,” Leslie said. “For this lecture we are really taking some time to mine a little bit and go deeper into questions in that vein. What’s the responsibility of art and the arts sector in promoting and sustaining justice and human rights? How responsible is the artist to continue being evocative and provocative in regards to that particular connection?”

He added that it would be difficult to find anyone more qualified to lead this discussion than Walker, who in 2016 was named by TIME magazine in its list of “100 Most Influential People in the World.”  

A native Texan, Walker has been a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors for two decades. He currently serves as president of the Ford Foundation, the nation’s second largest philanthropic organization.

He previously worked as vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation, managing the initiative to rebuild in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

The University of Texas at Austin gave Walker the “Distinguished Alumnus Award,” the highest honor given by his alma mater. 

Walker will be in conversation with professor, curator, and bestselling author Sarah Lewis.

With her work on race, justice, contemporary art and culture, Lewis has an impressive resume of her own, having curated at The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Tate Modern, London.

She has also served on President Obama’s Arts Policy Committee and as a Trustee of Creative Time, the CUNY Graduate Center, the Brearley School, and the Andy Warhol Foundation of the Visual Arts. In 2014, her book, “The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure and the Search for Mastery,” was a Los Angeles Times bestseller.

For registration, and for more information about the series, the Rothko Chapel and the full calendar of upcoming programs, workshops and events, visit or call 713-524-9839.


About the Rothko Chapel

The Rothko Chapel is open to the public every day of the year at no charge and successfully interconnects art, spirituality and compassionate action through a broad array of free public programs. Founded by Houston philanthropists Dominique and John de Menil, the Chapel was dedicated in 1971 as an intimate sanctuary. Today it stands as a monument to art, spirituality and human rights. As an independent non-profit, non-governmental organization, the Chapel depends on contributions from foundations and individuals to support its mission of creating a space for contemplation and dialogue on important issues.

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