How a Barnard Magazine cover sparked the imagination of Virginia-based artist Alan Rubin
It is no exaggeration to say that the Winter issue was produced at a unique moment in time. Over the course of several months — from the day we first started brainstorming ideas in early fall to the day we went to press in December — there’s been significant, historic change. This issue stands at the cusp of a new year, and because of this, you’ll find it filled with stories that speak to the critical issues and events of 2020 while looking ahead to 2021.
It can be challenging to keep up with the swift pace of the news cycle these days, but as a quarterly publication, that isn’t really our aim. At Barnard, I am fortunate to find myself in a community that values context and seeks out diverse perspectives — and that inspires us at the Magazine to dig a little deeper and cover what is not only current but also enduring. In our feature “Tuned In,” we take a look at the Barnard women, like The Daily’s Theo Balcomb ’09, who’ve launched or contributed to some of today’s most influential podcasts. In this relatively new professional field, these alums found a creative space for storytelling, and along the way, they were aided by the mentorship and collaboration of a number of Barnard women.
In these pages, we address some important but difficult topics, from our nation’s reckoning with race to the COVID-19 pandemic. In our cover story, “Doing the Work,” you’ll read about three alums — Michelle Maldonado ’91, Vernā Myers ’82, and Enola Aird ’76 — who’ve dedicated their lives and careers to building a more equitable, inclusive, and humane society. And we close out the issue with an insightful essay from Dr. Helene Gayle ’76, the president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, who discusses the urgent need for equity in the face of our current health crisis. As a co-chair of a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee, Dr. Gayle worked with members to create a framework for the equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccination. It was a mighty task, but Dr. Gayle stepped up and lent her expertise to bring about meaningful change.
I also want to note an addition to the Magazine. In Noteworthy, we’re introducing a new column: “Passion Project.” It’s a place where we’ll be highlighting your many fascinating interests, hobbies, pastimes, and enterprises. A passion project might very well riff off or even morph into the professional sphere, but at the core, it is something that you do simply because you enjoy it. In our inaugural column, we speak with Leigh Wishner ’97, a coordinator at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, who has spent her career researching, collecting, and writing about costume design and textiles. When the pandemic hit, she launched her Instagram account @PatternPlayUSA, devoted to her love for 20th-century American textile design. It’s a lively mix of color, pattern, and history. I look forward to featuring your projects — whether newly discovered or lifelong interests — in the Magazine as well.
As we get ready to put this issue to bed, I find myself thinking about the opening photograph for Noteworthy. You can’t miss it. It shows several women dancing joyfully in a celebration that was organized by Black Order of Soul Sisters (BOSS) in 1972. It is one of the many images you can find in the Barnard Archives that was also republished in Robert McCaughey’s new book, A College of Her Own: The History of Barnard. This moment, this dance, is part of Barnard’s history, and I think this is just the right way to kick off 2021.