Art is life: Interview with Ebbie Parsons of Yardstick Management By LeRon L. Barton
Exposure + Access = Opportunity is the motto of Yardstick Management, a consulting firm that helps companies develop platforms to educate create opportunities in their communities. Founded by Ebbie Parsons, Ed PHD, Yardstick Management (whom is a sponsor of the MoAD Vanguard Spring Event Vive L’ Afrique), aims to empower and encourage people in reaching their goals. I got a chance to snag the very busy New Orleans born, Detroit raised, and now Atlanta resident for a couple of minutes as we talked the importance of art exposure to children, the brilliance of Van Gough, and why MoAD is essential.
LeRon Barton – Why did you start Yardstick?
Ebbie Parsons – I worked for other education firms and founders in the past, but I was implementing their vision, and I wanted to help my own community. I felt that I could represent their needs better than anyone because I come from those communities. The great thing about Yardstick is that we are intentionally diverse – our leadership is Black and Brown. We look like who we serve. There is only so much you can learn about being Black and Brown from books and that is why I believe Yardstick is successful.
What is your connection to MoAD ?
We have a friend in Paula Farmer (MoAD Vanguard board member) and MoAD’s ideals and mission coincide with ours. MoAD helps people understand the impact of the African diaspora on the world. That is essentially why Yardstick exists. People of the African diaspora impact everyone, not just people that are Black.
What is your relationship to art?
I went to an art school when I was younger and that grew my interest. Since then, I have joined many different art and opera communities. I am board director of Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York City, Chairman of the Board of Lighthouse Academy, the largest art infused charter school in the country, and I am a board member of the Fairfield county community foundation in Connecticut.
Where does your passion for art come from?
Art helps us realize the dream. Art gives us a chance to imagine. With the arts, it allows you to teleport somewhere else. If you want to accomplish your dreams, you first have to know how to dream. When I was young, I was blessed with exposure to art. I believe kids can become whatever they want to be with exposure. Our formula is access + exposure = opportunity. You have to have exposure to know that the door exists and then you have to figure out how to get access. That is why my wife and I started the Yardstick.
Favorite piece of art?
Van Gough’s Starry Night. It lends a lot to the imagination. If you look at the painting, it could be a gloomy night, a windy day, bright, airy… It can be whatever you want it to be.
Favorite style of art?
I have an appreciation for all of it, but I like art that is multi-dimensional. If you look at it 20 different times, then it will give you 20 different messages.
Horace Pippen. I appreciate what he did for the African-American experience. His art depicted us and the beauty that is us.
Why is MoAD important?
It gives us a window into the tremendous influence of the African diaspora. It depicts our beauty, our accomplishments, and our as culture. If you want to feel good about who you are and where you are going, visit the MoAD
MoAD Vanguard is proud to present the most exclusive day party of the summer – Vive L’ Afrique. On June 10, 2017 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm, join MoAD Vanguard for a colorful celebration of the French and Spanish speaking countries of the African Diaspora! This party with a purpose will have your favorite music and will introduce you to new diaspora sounds. From Ankara to Kente and patterns in between, come dressed to impress in your flyest African fashion. To purchase tickets to L’ Afrique, click here.