December 2020 - A.R.T

December 3, 2020 - Monica Ramirez-Montagut,  Director, Eli Broad Museum

image from the Broad Art MuseumThe MSU Broad Art Museum’s full staff participated in a Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) training called A.R.T.(Addressing Racism Together). We shared six two-hour sessions on Friday mornings focused on restorative solutions. From that training, we created our own DEAI statement and identified areas of improvement that will inform our institutional goals in our upcoming 2021-2026 Strategic Plan. The MSU Broad recently received funding from MSU's Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives to train our (and other MSU public venues) student workers on DEAI matters thus providing them the same opportunity for A.R.T. training to transform our MSU art spaces into restorative justice spaces and move the needle towards equity. We recognize DEAI learning is an ongoing process, so we’ve made it a priority to continue these conversations regularly with our full staff. For two hours every other Friday morning, we invite MSU stakeholders such as Dean Forger, Dean Esquith, Vice President Floyd Atkins, Professors Vincent Delgado, Gregory Whitaker, Jeff Wray and others to meet with our staff and share their experiences with these issues. In an effort to ensure that planning these biweekly conversations is equitable, all staff members suggest guests to invite based on their departmental point of view. 

In response to what we’ve learned from these training sessions, the MSU Broad is taking immediate, actionable steps. We have updated the National Advisory Museum Board bylaws including extending invitations to two new members to join the board: Deborah J. Johnson, Director of the Diversity Research Network of MSU's Office of Intercultural and Inclusion Initiatives and Sharron Reed-Davis, current President of MSU’s Black Student Alliance. The full museum advisory board will then participate in the same A.R.T. training in which the staff participated. The MSU Broad is also posting two positions, a Curatorial Assistant and an Equity Representative where inclusion, diversity, and accessibility will frame all aspects of the job responsibilities. And finally, the MSU Broad is featuring socially-engaged exhibitions, focusing on equity and representation for those communities which are “marginalized”. Opening in September 2021 is PerSister: Voices of Incarcerated Women, which was co-curated in partnership with formerly incarcerated women. PerSister seeks to build awareness of the crucial issues that impact women before, during, and after incarceration. Similarly, the museum is also currently working on another exhibition in partnership with twelve faculty members from diverse disciplines and several community stakeholders to develop the exhibition Nourishing Justice. This exhibition, slated to open in 2024, will address food sovereignty by exposing systemic inequity in who gets to produce, have access, and make decisions about the food they eat, and why. 

The museum's DEAI statement publicly displayed on the website is: 

The MSU Broad is committed to amplifying perspectives and stories by underrepresented and oppressed communities through the arts and creating an inclusive environment for meaningful dialogue about equity and social justice. The MSU Broad employs actively anti-racist approaches to exhibitions and programming by making evident systems of privilege, power, and oppression that are pervasive and self-perpetuating with the objective of working towards restorative solutions.