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Sally Taylor on Consensus & How She's Teaching Students to Use Art as Language

By Chuck Ansbacher | June 8, 2017 | People

Through her art exhibit consenses, Sally Taylor has tapped the talent of Carly Simon to Jimmy Buffet. Next up? Our country's kids.


Consenses founder and musical artist Sally Taylor.

There’s no question that music is in Sally Taylor’s DNA. But now, the daughter of legendary singers Carly Simon and James Taylor can add painting, poetry, dance, and sculpture to her artistic provenance. Taylor, a Martha’s Vineyard native, is the mastermind behind Consenses, an epic exhibit—an artistic game of “telephone,” if you will—consisting of 150 multi-disciplinary artists from singer Jimmy Buffett to writer Susan Minot. Each artist received, interpreted, recreated, and passed along an original work of art to the next person. Then, the process starts all over again. Taylor recently developed Consenses into a school curriculum for students to learn how to communicate through art. With the backing of Boston philanthropist Mahsa Noble, Taylor hopes to broaden the program nationwide.

The question: “Can we use art as a language rather than relying on verbal communication to express ourselves and understand each other on a much deeper and intimate level?”

The curriculum: “Consenses gives kids a larger platform from which to express themselves and recognize that everybody’s voice and perspective matter equally.” The end result will be exhibited at Mass MoCA in 2018.

In the end…: “Consensus means tossing out the majority of each person’s perspective in exchange for one common belief. In art, you can let everybody’s perspective be a bigger, broader lens.” A party and fundraiser will be hosted by Esmeralda Swartz and Mahsa Noble on Martha’s Vineyard in Edgartown in mid-August. Find out more at