Agnes Gund

Photo: Courtesy of Agnes Gund

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Agnes Gund
President emerita of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and chairman of its International Council

People often underestimate the power of... Art as a communicator. It's a language everyone understands. You don't have to speak Russian to appreciate a Vasily Kandinsky painting or speak Japanese to see the beauty in their architecture.

I felt most powerful when... I started Studio in a School in 1977. We fund visual artists who teach in New York City schools that have lost funding. We share the importance of the arts, not only in society but also in building one's self-esteem. And the kids really grasp that: They're confident and proud of themselves and share art with the people in their lives.

A true sign of power is... Influence. My passion is supporting little-known artists who don't have a chance to see their work in galleries or exhibitions. It's gratifying when they get more exposure—and opportunities to show their art—because someone purchased a piece and encouraged people to see it.