01 August 2023
The Ringling News
One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?’
~ Rachel Carson from THE SENSE OF WONDER
Everyone wonders. But where does wonder come from? Let’s gather to explore how the arts can evoke wonder in our lives.
In early June of 2024, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida will host a symposium to consider the importance of wonder in the arts. This three-day gathering brings together unique voices from academic and artistic communities in a multi-faceted exploration of wonder. The Ringling is a site ripe with the wonderful, with the visual arts, circus history, and performing arts integrated across a lush, tropical landscape. This symposium will both explore the concept of wonder and the arts and leave participants inspired through shared wonder-filled experiences.
Submissions are invited for the following topics and suggestions exploring alternate areas of wonder are welcome.
Proposals may address one or multiple suggested questions or propose a unique question about wonder and the arts.
Wonder and the Self
- How do the visual and performing arts encourage us to recognize the contributions of others and dream of our own potential?
- How is wonder experienced by the mind and the body?
- What effect(s) does wonder have on our physical experience?
- How is wonder experienced differently as we age?
Wonder as a Medium
- How do artists convey wonder through the visual and performing arts?
- What do we learn about our bodies by interacting with a work of art?
- How do the visual and performing arts create awareness, admiration, and wonder at the experience of embodiment?
- What does it mean to perform/create art about the body?
- How do miniatures and other unexpected scales help artists create wonder?
- How is wonder received by an audience?
- What is the relationship between artist and audience?
A Space for Wonder
- How does place influence the sense of wonder?
- How do the arts benefit from/participate in the making of space?
- How are museums sites of wonder?
- How do museums curate wonder?
Wonder Inspired Action
- How does the experience of wonder inspire action?
- How does a group of individuals collaborate to create wonder?
- How are the arts a microcosm of broader society/global society?
Encounters of the Wonderous Kind
How can a symposium be wonder-filled?
Proposals for guided sessions of active engagement with wonder are welcome. Sessions should encourage accessible experiences of wonder through exploration of place, making of art, interactions with others, or guided self-discovery.
SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL
Proposals should include the following elements.
- Proposal title
- Presentation format
- Presentation time
- Brief description
- Detailed explanation of your idea (can be submitted in written, audio, or video formats)
Submit your proposal online at by 11:59 PM EST, November 1, 2023.
All submissions will be reviewed by an interdepartmental team of Ringling staff. Invitations to present will be confirmed in January 2024.
Still wondering about something? For questions about the symposium or proposal submission process please email [email protected].