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Ford Foundation and Walton Family Foundation Launch $6 Million Effort to Diversify Art Museum Leadership

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NEW YORK, Nov. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Walton Family Foundation and Ford Foundation announced today they are each committing $3 million over three years to support creative solutions to diversify curatorial and management staff at art museums across the United States.

Recent studies have shown that the staff and leadership of art museums do not adequately reflect the socio-economic and racial demographics of the country. According to a national study by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, only 16 percent of art museum leadership positions were held by people of color, despite the fact that 38 percent of Americans identify as Asian, Black, Hispanic or multi-racial.

Through the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative, the Ford Foundation and Walton Family Foundation will support innovative strategies and programs to advance diversity across the sector, including hiring professionals from under-represented populations and offering fellowships, mentorships, and other career development options for diverse professionals. The funded initiatives will affect curatorial and programmatic decision-making in the museums, as well as managerial choices, and lead to long-term benefits for the participating museums and the field as a whole. The outcomes of the funded initiatives will be shared with the larger field, enabling other art institutions to learn from successful approaches.

“For museums to be truly inviting public spaces, they must better reflect the communities they serve. 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,” said Alice Walton, founder and board chair of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

“The arts play an essential role in our society by inspiring people of all ages to dream and to imagine new possibilities for themselves, their communities, and the world. To ensure the future health and vibrancy of the arts in America, we need more arts leaders who understand and relate to the deeply varied perspectives and life experiences that weave the rich fabric of our nation,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation.

The Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative will fund 20 pioneering programs at the following art museums:

Andy Warhol Museum, in Pittsburgh, PA, for a multi-tiered pipeline project including a youth outreach program, internships, and alumni and mentoring programs. The Art Institute of Chicago, in Chicago, IL, to expand the museum’s internship programs, and provide mentorship and leadership training

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