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Newfields releases action plan following racially insensitive job posting

The board of trustees shared its commitments to diversity and inclusion after a job posting called for maintaining the museum's "core, white art audience."
Credit: WTHR

INDIANAPOLIS — Newfields has released the action plan it promised 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:

"Our audience – and most museums’ audiences – have historically been, and currently are, too homogeneous, and we are committed to changing that and intentionally diversifying our audiences. We deeply regret that in our job description, in our attempt to focus on building and diversifying our core audience, our wording was divisive rather than inclusive. Our intention is to continue to build an institution that is truly inclusive. It will be our challenge for years to come to continue building our diversity, equity and inclusion in our hiring, programs, artwork, exhibitions and more, and we are committed to doing so."

Dr. Charles Venable, former president of Newfields, stepped down in the fallout of the controversy.

In the release of its action plan Friday, Newfields said it has spent the last month listening to staff, artists and community members to help make the institution a diverse, inclusive and anti-racist community.

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 below.