The Challenge

Art—and the museums that house the world’s most celebrated works—possess an incredible power: to hold a mirror up to society and reflect the richness of our culture. However, their health and vibrancy depend on their relevance and resonance to the broadest cross-section of America.

Right now, less than 20 percent of leadership positions in art museums are held by people of color and underrepresented populations. While we have seen important strides made, such as the announcement of Naomi Beckwith as the first Black chief curator of the Guggenheim, museums have more work to do to diversify their staff, boards and programs to capture a complete picture of the country’s evolving demographics.

What’s in the report?

The Ford Foundation, in partnership with the Alice L. Walton Foundation, created the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative, to help museums across the United States seize this moment of reckoning. As part of this initiative, we gave 21 institutions—from the Hood Museum of Art to the Art Institute of Chicago—multi-year grants to launch a variety of activities to advance diversity in their work. In this report, we delve into the efforts made, their accomplishments thus far, and their next steps to build a vibrant, more inclusive future.