INDIANAPOLIS — Newfields released a statement Saturday afternoon after a job posting sparked outrage.
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."
Newfields said in a statement that it "deeply regrets" that its wording in the job description was "divisive rather than inclusive."
The job posting was first shared by a reporter with the New York Times and has been widely criticized online.
Newfields used a recruiting platform called “m/Oppenheim Executive Search” back in November.
Some say this isn’t an isolated incident at Newfields. Last summer a curator resigned because of this same exact reason, saying the museum is toxic and fails people of color.
Dr. Kelli Morgan worked at Newfields for two and half years before submitting a resignation letter. She studied racism in museums with a specialty in African American art. She is now an independent curator and art advisor.
She said this type of insensitivity is happening in museums around the country.
“It’s a symptom of a much, much deeper issue. What happened to me is nothing compared to what is happening to so many museum professionals and curators across the country,” Dr. Morgan said.
She said there is a big disconnect between the institution and communities of color, add that this job description was not a mistake.
“There is no finger on the pulse of these conversations. There is no finger on the pulse of how the world, not just the art world, is having these conversations,” she said.
The full statement from Newfields reads:
"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."
The job posting has since been edited to remove the word "white."
The Arts Council of Indianapolis released a statement responding to Newfield's job posting: