The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields is under fire after an insensitive job posting looking for a new director that would maintain a “traditional, core, white art audience”.
The Newfields released a statement saying:
“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 Arts Council of Indianapolis also released a statement saying:
“The declaration of interest in maintaining their ‘traditional core, white art audience,’ served to undermine their stated value of inclusivity and desire to ‘attract a broader and more diverse audience’ made in other parts of the description.”
On Saturday, the museum’s director and CEO, Charles L. Venable said the use of the world “white” was intentional and that it was intended to state that the museum would not “abandon its existing audience as part of its efforts toward greater diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Venable also said he “deeply regret that the choice of language clearly has not worked out to mirror our overall intention of building our core art audience by welcoming more people in the door,” he said. “We were trying to be transparent about the fact that anybody who is going to apply for this job really needs to be committed to D.E.I. efforts in all parts of the museum.”