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Darrianne Christian elected as new chair of board of trustees as Newfields increases diversity

Christian has been working to help transform Newfields into an empathetic, multi-cultural and anti-racist institution.
Credit: Newfields
Darrianne Christian was elected as the new chair of the Board of Trustees at Newfields.

INDIANAPOLIS — Newfields is making good on a promise to add diversity among leadership roles. 

Darrianne Christian was elected as the new chair of the Board of Trustees. She's the first Black woman to lead Newfields. She's also been working to help transform it into an empathetic, multi-cultural and anti-racist institution.

Previously, diversity among board of trustees members was just 8 percent. It is now up to 25 percent.

All of this comes as part of an action plan after the community criticized the organization for a racially insensitive job listing

In the job posting, it listed that a role of the director position would be to find "[...] innovative ways that attract a broader and more diverse audience while maintaining the Museum's traditional, core, white art audience."

After the posting began spreading on social media, Newfields said it regretted the the wording and was committed to being more inclusive. Dr. Charles Venable, former president of Newfields, stepped down in the fallout of the controversy.

In the release of its action plan in March, Newfields said it has spent time listening to staff, artists and community members.

Credit: WTHR

Here are some of the plans included in the institution's commitments:

  • Create a $20 million endowment that will be used to acquire art from underrepresented and marginalized artists.
  • Expand access by offering free memberships to area residents and partnering with community groups for free admission. Starting July 2021, Newfields will also extend its free student membership program to Ivy Tech students.
  • Accelerate the plan to offer discounted and free tickets to popular events like "Harvest," "Winterlights" and "THE LUME." It will also expand its free First Thursdays program that offers free admission to the museum and the grounds to include the entire day, all year long.

See the full action plan here.

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