Karyn Ross on Why Art Matters and a World Without Systemic Racism — #RootCauseRacism Panel

This is part of the recent webinar panel discussion titled “Sharing Our Visions and Voices to #RootCauseRacism”.


Karyn Ross speaks about the power of art in envisioning a better future (one without systemic racism) — and she shares an offer here:


“Karyn Ross: Thanks, Mark. Thanks, Deondra. I’m Karyn Ross. I’m coming to you from Naperville, Illinois, 35 miles west of Chicago and here in my art studio today. I, along with Crystal Davis and Dorsey Sherman, am one of the founding mothers of Women in Lean.

I’m the founder and president of The Love and Kindness Project Foundation and a Lean coach in consulting. Some of you may know me from my book, “How to Coach for Creativity and Service Excellence,” and also “Toyota Way to Service Excellence.”

What you may not know about me is that I don’t come from the world of business to the world of Lean in continuous improvement. I come from the world of art. I have a master’s degree in sculptor. 20 years ago when I started studying art, people said to me, “Why would you want to study art? It’s pointless. Art has no purpose and artists have no purpose.”

What I believe now is what I believed then, and it’s what I wrote about in my blog. It has two really super important purposes. Artists actually look at the past and we create forward to the future. When we create something, we may look at that history, but we’re able to take our creativity and go forward to the future.

When you do a drawing or write a song or create a dance, whatever you want to do with your creativity, you actually are able to access those deeper parts of yourself, those parts that are underneath words. When you create a drawing, you can look at that drawing and you can see things and learn things about yourself and the way you think and the way you feel that you might not have access to.

How does that relate to our #RootCauseRacism? Here’s my practical step that you all can take. Gather your children, gather your family members, gather your friends. Virtual is great. Get a piece of paper, some art supplies, sit down, take 10 minutes and draw a picture of what this world would look like without systemic racism.

I actually did that. Here’s my picture of what I envision a world without systemic racism would look like. To help encourage you, because I know sometimes people say, “Drawing is very scary and hard,” there’s going to be one more blog that you’re going to find on the series.

What we’re going to ask you to do is whatever next step you decide to take, if you comment on that blogpost and tell us what that next step is, we’re going to send you a signed print of what I envision a world without root cause racism to be. That’s my next step. I look forward to hearing about everybody else’s next step.”

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