Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation Collaborate for Diversity in Art Museum Leadership
At a time when division is raw in American society, no sector should remain immune to self-reflection, or ignore the call to address diversity, equity, and inclusion. Museums are no exception. Today, museums need to work to improve not only who feels welcome attending them, but also who works in them.
Mindful of this, the Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) launched the Diversity in Museum Leadership Initiative (DMLI) last November, in collaboration with 20 museums across the United States. The initiative aims to address the legacy of historic and pervasive inequity in American society as it relates to museum staffing in the arts. The primary focus of our collaboration is to support and develop qualified talent from underrepresented backgrounds. The goal of the initiative is to help American museums fulfill their promise of serving as inclusive “anchor” institutions in their communities.
DMLI builds on a 2015 report from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which sheds light on the underrepresentation of non-White ethnic and racial groups in museum staff, particularly in creative, educational, and leadership roles. It states that only 4 percent of staff are African American, and only 3 percent are Hispanic—both far below their representation in the overall population. The report suggests that greater representation of racially and ethnically diverse staff is critical to the long-term relevance and flourishing of museums, both in reflecting on and speaking to the ever-increasing diversity of American culture...