Sarah Lewis has served on President Barack Obama’s Arts Policy Committee, been selected for Oprah’s “Power List,” and is a faculty member at Yale University, School of Art in the MFA program. Her new book, The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery will be released today by Simon & Schuster U.S., HarperCollins U.K. and has sold translation rights in Brazil, Holland, Thailand, and South Korea to date. The Rise is a layered, story-driven investigation of how innovation, discovery, and the creative progress are all spurred on by advantages gleaned from the improbable, the unlikely, even failure.
Her second book, based on her Yale dissertation, Black Sea, Black Atlantic: Frederick Douglass, The Circassian Beauties, and American Racial Formation in the Wake of the Civil War, for which she has received support from the Ford Foundation, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance & Abolition, is under contract with Harvard University Press for release in 2015.
Her essays have been published in the New Yorker, Artforum, Art in America, and Callaloo and in publications for Rizzoli, the Smithsonian, The Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem.
She has held positions at both the Tate Modern and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She is currently a board member of The Andy Warhol for the Visual Arts, the CUNY Graduate Center, and The Brearley School. She received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, an M. Phil from Oxford University, and will receive her Ph.D. from Yale University in 2014. She lives in New York City.
We got to catch up during her busy schedule which included moderating a Sundance panel with the likes of Robert Redford, David Eggers and Jill Soloway, being featured in Elle and Forbes Magazines, published in the New Yorker, preparing for a talk with Anna Deavere Smith and Angela Lee Duckworth at LIVE from the New York Public Library, gearing up to appear on Late Night with Seth Meyers this Friday and gracing the main stage of TED 2014.
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Until then, enjoy Sarah's List:
Favorite Hotel: The Study in New Haven, CT
Meal: Lots of greens, rice and some kind of protein
Beverage: Cold-pressed green juice
Restaurant: Blue Ribbon Sushi (even though I'm allergic to fish! I like the veggie dishes)
Artist: Carrie Mae Weems
Musician: Wynton Marsalis
Writer: (Poet) Tracy K. Smith
Book: The Gift by Lewis Hyde
Film: Life is Beautiful
Most Treasured Possession: A picture of my great-great grandmother
Perfect Happiness: Walking by the river with a pen and notebook in hand
Fear: Not doing what my spirit is calling me to do
Dislike: Harping on the negative
Best Advice: The one I think of when I need to stay calm: "Relax. There is in earth spinning committee. All is well." - Abraham-Hicks
Favorite Quote: "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." I'm not sure who said this, but I heard it once and loved it. (Stephen Covey)