Study after study has shown that the leadership at U.S. cultural institutions fails to reflect the demographics of the country. On Tuesday, the Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation announced a $6 million campaign with the aim of diversifying the leadership at art museums.
The initiative will fund programs at 20 museums that are developing innovative strategies to hire and advance the careers of underrepresented minorities. (The museums were chosen out of 83 that applied.) The Art Institute of Chicago, for example, will hire a full-time program coordinator to oversee a new stipended internship program, with 21 high school interns and 19 college interns a year; while the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will support two-year baccalaureate fellowships to work with the museum’s director and head of curatorial affairs.
Other participants include the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Altogether, the grants will support 11 new jobs; fellowships and internships for 360 college students; and museum studies programs for more than 1,000 teenagers.
“We need more arts leaders who understand and relate to the deeply varied perspectives and life experiences” that make up America, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, said in a statement.
Organizers hope to compile the results of the initiative to provide potential solutions for other institutions. Recently, other steps have been taken around the country to promote diversity at cultural institutions: New York City announced it would link future funding to diversity, while the Speed Art Museum in Kentucky employs a spreadsheet.
Source: New York Times – Art and Design