US Launches $6 Million Initiative To Diversify Art Museum Leadership

New Orleans Museum of Art
Courtesy of the New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana, USA
New Orleans Museum of Art
Two mega foundations are making efforts to address diversity within the curatorial and management sectors of arts institutions

Donating $3 million each over the next three years, the Walton Family Foundation and the Ford Foundation have announced their intentions to back efforts that will reevaluate the current racial and socio-economic representation of art museum staff.

Employing creative solutions and strategies, the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative is a direct response to recent studies that revealed that the US population in its entirety is not adequately or equally represented within cultural institutions. An Andrew W Mellon Foundation study held in in 2015 revealed that a mere 16 per cent of leadership positions were held by non-minority groups. The two foundations released a statement indicating, “By 2025, 30 percent of mid- and senior-level curatorial and management positions at US art museums will be filled by talented leaders from historically under-represented and diverse backgrounds.”

The funding will go towards creating mentorship and career development programmes, as well as new fellowships and internships at 20 museums. The receiving museums include:

Andy Warhol Museum
The Art Institute of Chicago
Clark Atlanta University Art Museum
Zuckerman Museum of Art at Kennesaw State University
Cleveland Museum of Art
Fisk University Galleries
Hood Museum of Art
Institute of Contemporary Art
Pérez Art Museum Miami
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara
National Museum of Mexican Art
DuSable Museum of African American History
New Orleans Museum of Art
Newark Museum of Art
Oakland Museum of California
Phoenix Art Museum
Reynolda House Museum of American Art
Saint Louis Art Museum
The Studio Museum in Harlem
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

“For museums to be truly inviting public spaces, they must better reflect the communities they serve,” stated Alice Walton, the founder and board chair of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. “Achieving diversity requires a deeper commitment: To hire and nurture leaders from all backgrounds. This initiative creates the opportunity for museums to build a more inclusive culture within their institutions.”

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New Orleans Museum of Art
Courtesy of the New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana, USA
New Orleans Museum of Art