ART FOR EQUALITY

Transatlantic, 2003, Mixed media on wood, 80 x 102 x 2 1/2 in., General Purchase Fund Right: Kara Walker, Confederate Prisoners Being Conducted from Jonesborough to Atlanta, 2005, Offset lithography and silkscreen on Somerset Textured paper, 39 × 53 in., Stephen B. Lawrence and Bette Batchelor Memorial Acquisition Funds

NBMAA's Message of Solidarity with the AAPI Community 

Violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has surged significantly amid the pandemic. Tragically, the rise of anti-Asian hatred and brutality, including the horrific shootings in Atlanta, have both brought to light and further exacerbated the longstanding and pervasive racism that AAPI Americans face every day.

Xenophobia and hostility against particular groups because of their ethnic origin runs counter to all that the New Britain Museum of American Art stands for. As part of our mission to serve all people, we will continue to amplify the voices of all Americans in celebrating our rich diversity and create safe spaces to discuss, and work against, inequality in all its forms.

The NBMAA stands in solidarity with Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and people of color in this country.

NBMAA Mission

The NBMAA engages and enriches a broad public to explore and understand the unfolding story of America through its art and history. We collect, preserve, and present the finest examples of American art, fulfilling an educational role through dynamic exhibitions, publications, and programs that illuminate our nation’s diverse heritage and artistic advancements.

NBMAA Vision

As the nation’s first dedicated American art museum, the NBMAA welcomes everyone to explore the past, present, and future through artistic practice. We represent multidimensional American perspectives to promote free expression, cultural exchange, and personal and collective growth.

NBMAA Equity Statement

Recognizing the racial tensions that exist in our country today, the NBMAA is compelled to confront the bias and inequity that has long existed in our own community, culture, and institution. The NBMAA is committed to fulfilling its mission to tell the “unfolding story of America through its art and history” by including narratives of underrepresented cultures, viewpoints, and artists in our permanent collection, acquisitions, exhibitions, and educational programming. Through critical review of our board, leadership, staffing and volunteer opportunities, we will strive to be a better reflection of the community we serve.

Staff Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion (DEAI) Task Force Mission Statement

The Task Force will work with NBMAA leadership, staff, and volunteers to increase diversity, equity, access, and inclusion across the organization. We will help guide our collections, acquisitions, educational programs, marketing communications, and staffing practices to better reflect the diverse community we serve as well as expand on the narrative of what “American” art is.

We must create a workplace that is free from racism and bias, so that all staff feel welcomed, valued, and safe. The taskforce will work to ensure the NBMAA is a safe space for all employees, where their diverse viewpoints and experiences are considered, discussed, and celebrated. Where staff feel empowered to discuss their individual experiences to inform and transform the NBMAA into a fully inclusive workplace, free from fear of retaliation or inappropriate censure.

MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, Charleena Lyles, Atatiana Jefferson, Dominique Clayton, Botham Jean, Philando Castile, Walter Scott, Eric Reason, Natasha McKenna, Bettie Jones, Ezell Ford, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown.

These and countless other black Americans lost their lives to police brutality and racially targeted violence. These and countless other black Americans were robbed of their fundamental right to live. These senseless losses are an affront to the humanity of each and every citizen of America, of each and every color. We are outraged. We are grieving. We stand in solidarity with all those living with fear, trauma, anger, and hurt, simply because of the color of their skin. As an American art museum, it is our duty to grapple with the difficult conversations and histories of our nation. We must address the lack of representation and diversity, not only in our field, but across society. We must address the suppression of voices and narratives. And we must actively pursue paths towards change.

The staff at the New Britain Museum of American Art commit to each other and to our community to reach across racial divides, to educate ourselves, to invest in initiatives that bring more voices of color into the conversation, to acknowledge our own blind spots and failings. We commit to being part of the transformation required to become a more equitable institution, community, and society, by recognizing and working to dismantle racial bias within ourselves, our institution, and community. We commit to all those grieving, all those seeking safety, all those feeling marginalized, all those who have been victims of racism, that we as a staff and institution stand by you. We commit to listening, learning, and moving forward, together.

Black Lives Matter.

Min Jung Kim
Director and CEO
New Britain Museum of American Art

RESOURCES

2020 Census
Center for Racial Justice
For Freedoms
CT Voter Registration

Movement for Black Lives (M4BL)
Race Forward: What is Systemic Racism?
Ava DuVernay's 13th
Moral Monday CT
13 Children's Books About Race and Diversity

READ

The NBMAA serves to amplify the voices of artists within our community; find further readings and statements from artists responding to ongoing issues of racial injustice and inequality.

Artist Titus Kaphar's recent Time magazine cover and accompanying statement.

Kara Walker's recent essay published in Frieze: Kara Walker on the Post-Lockdown World.

NBMAA interview with NEW/NOW artist Shantell Martin

Reflections on Juneteenth-The New Yorker, Hyperallergic

Betye Saar, whose Liberation, is to be featured in NBMAA exhibition Some Day is Now: Women, Art, & Social Change has been one of the voices calling for Quaker Oats’ retirement of the “Aunt Jemima” brand: Hyperallergic, Art News, Artnet News

WNPR Where We Live-A Conversation With Poet Jericho Brown

The Arts Fuse-Visual Arts Review: The Art of Kara Walker — A Mix of Cozy Charm and Historic Horror

New York Times-A Rush to Use Black Art Leaves the Artists Feeling Used