Diversity Task Force Announced
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Posted by: Judith Pineiro
For Immediate Release
AAMC & AAMC FOUNDATION FORM DIVERSITY TASK FORCE
May 3, 2016 -- The Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) & AAMC Foundation announce the formation of a Diversity Task Force, a key outcome of the organization’s 2015 Strategic Planning process. The formation of the Task Force, with co-leaders selected from the current Board, was enthusiastically endorsed by AAMC & AAMC Foundation leadership in Winter 2015. Additional curatorial leaders were invited to join the Task Force in Spring 2015 and the first full group discussion held in August 2015.
“The findings of a comprehensive survey assessing the diversity of the staffs of art museums in the United States, announced by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in partnership with the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), in July 2015 provided a useful benchmark as well as a wake-up call to all cultural institutions. Within the results, it is evident that the curatorial field falls far short of representing the ethnic and racial diversity of our population” said Christa Clarke, Senior Curator, Arts of Global Africa, Newark Museum, and AAMC & AAMC Foundation Vice President of Programs and Diversity Task Force co-leader. “Our Task Force is dedicated to building inclusion into our profession, establishing concrete processes and resources to increase opportunities while fostering open discussion of entrenched systems of disenfranchisement with our organizations. We will work toward making an impact through both action and dialogue.”
As an important first step, the Board of Trustees for the organizations approved the Diversity Task Force’s policy, which is being applied to every aspect of their activities:
"All of AAMC & AAMC Foundation programming and overall efforts shall strive to be representative of diversity: across self-identifications (by nation, gender, creed, race), fields of expertise, types of institutional mission, and regional position, of participants. The more diverse our voices, the more dynamic our offerings."
“Our goal is inclusion, within our membership base and as a profession,” said Judith Pineiro, Executive Director, AAMC & AAMC Foundation, and member of the Task Force, “’The curatorial field and our organization should be more representative of the communities we serve. The current pipeline into the profession needs to expand and change, and I am committed to having AAMC & AAMC Foundation be a leader towards that growth.”
Toward this goal, the Task Force, with the Executive Director and President of the AAMC & AAMC Foundation, has begun developing its initiatives within existing programming. The 2016 Annual Conference program in Houston this May -features the session, Diversifying the Curatorial Profession: How the Internship/Fellowship Track Can Be Our Essential Path Toward Change, moderated and organized by Board member and Task Force co-leader Jen Mergel, Beal Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. As Mergel observed, “Art museums and we as curators not only benefit from, but depend upon, direct engagement with voices across generations and backgrounds to remain relevant, both professionally and socially. Valuing more diverse perspectives is the future of our field."
Importantly, Task Force members, along with Executive Committee and Conference Committee chairs reviewed together all Annual Conference panel offerings guided by the new policy. A regional programming event is being planned by the Task Force in the Fall 2016. The organizations look to further the Task Force’s involvement in their Mentorship Program, and have already done so with the co-produced seminar on Handling Controversy with the National Coalition Against Censorship, and Professional Development Webinars, including the session Curating Social Justice: Three Case Studies.
In the future, the Task Force looks ahead to discussions both inside and outside the curatorial realm regarding issues of inclusion in the field and within AAMC’s membership, beginning work on a solid trajectory towards changing the demographics of the profession, and more immediately, growing the Task Force’s membership.
DIVERSITY TASK FORCE
CHRISTA CLARKE, Senior Curator, Arts of Global Africa, Newark Museum; Vice President, Programming, Board of Trustees; Diversity Task Force Co-Leader; Career Support, Conference & Professional Development Committees EC Representative
MARGI CONRADS, Director of Curatorial Affairs, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Finance & Audit Committee & Fundraising Initiatives Member
DEBORAH CULLEN-MORALES, Director & Chief Curator, The Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University
KIMBERLI GANT, Andrew W. Mellon PreDoctoral Fellow, Arts of Global Africa, Newark Museum
JEN MERGEL, Robert L. Beal, Enid L. Beal & Bruce A. Beal Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Board of Trustees; Professional Development Committee Co-Chair; Diversity Task Force Co-Leader
JUDITH PINEIRO, Executive Director, AAMC & AAMC Foundation; Ex-officio
MICHELLE JOAN WILKINSON, Museum Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture; Membership Committee Member
About the AAMC & AAMC Foundation
Founded in 2001, the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) has over 1,300 members from over 400 institutions around the globe. AAMC & AAMC Foundation celebrate the curatorial narrative by supporting and promoting the work of art curators at all stages in their career through opportunities for networking, collaboration, professional development, and career advancement. In the ever-changing visual non-profit art world, AAMC is the voice for all curators—regardless of field, experience level, and institutional type. We ensure that the curatorial perspective on art, museums, and educational issues is actively communicated to the public, media, and museum profession. For more information, visit artcurators.org, or contact the AAMC & AAMC Foundation offices at firstname.lastname@example.org.