Windows of Change

Bob Winston believes art develops empathy and encourages personal growth—and his own experiences with three McMullen Museum of Art exhibitions bear him out. “I genuinely believe,” Winston says, “that they made me a better person.”
The Power of Conversation: Jewish Women and Their Salons

If you ask Bob Winston why art is important, he’ll tell you a story.

In 2005, Winston chanced upon an elderly woman emerging from the Green Line, lost and disoriented, clutching a clipping from the Boston Globe with a review of the McMullen Museum exhibition, The Power of Conversation: Jewish Women and Their Salons. “My synagogue friends told me I had to see this,” she said. “Take me there.”

As he led her to Devlin Hall, they talked. “You’re Catholic, and I’m Jewish,” she said. “We have a lot in common.” They talked about Jesus’ role as a Jewish rabbi and a great teacher, and Winston, a devout lifelong Catholic, still gets emotional as he recalls, “I was amazed at the depth of her faith.” She told him about the many relatives she’d lost to the Holocaust. Winston was deeply moved by the serendipitous encounter, which, he says, made him see his own faith in a new light. He was also immensely proud that the McMullen Museum had drawn this extraordinary woman, entirely unfamiliar with BC, to the Heights.

Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections

More recently, he was awed by thousand-year-old manuscripts in Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections, a collaboration with Harvard University and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. For Winston, these fragile and beautiful works, created by faithful monks laboring for untold years, vividly illustrated the development of his religious tradition. “We saw early Christianity at its best,” he recalls.


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