Amy Herman Wows Audience With Her “Art of Perception”

  • March 9, 2017

“I ask people to refrain from using two words: obviously, and clearly.  We live and work in a very complex world, where nothing is obvious, and even less is clear.”—Amy Herman

Nearly 400 people took the message that “nothing is obvious and even less is clear” to heart after watching and hearing art historian and teacher Amy Herman present her “Art of Perception” at the River Oaks Theatre during ADL’s Women’s Initiative spring program.

Herman uses works of art to train people to observe better, to explain what they see better, and to solve problems creatively.   She boils the process of observation and down to four steps, all starting with the letter “A:” Assess, Analyze, Articulate, and Act.  She says we all look at and examine what we come across in our lives, but “the breakdown is in the effective communication of what we observe.”  She adds we need to use what we observe to think outside the box when trying to find solutions to problems.

Herman, who has a master’s degree in art history and also is an attorney, developed her “Art of Perception” workshop while working as Head of Education for The Frick Collection. She first used the workshop to help medical students improve their observational skills, and the sessions were so popular demand rose and Herman’s idea turned into a book and a career.  Agencies trained include the New York City Police Department, FBI, Secret Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Albert Einstein School of Medicine.

Attendees at the Women’s Initiative event loved the presentation.  One said, “This was fascinating.  One of the best presentations I’ve ever seen!”

The event’s title sponsor was Capgemini, and money raised by the event will fund ADL programs.

The ADL Women’s Initiative unites diverse women professionals in ADL’s efforts to promote respect and challenge bigotry through dialogue and action.  ADL has long championed justice and fair treatment for all, including equality for women.