Commitment to DEAI

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion (DEAI)

Our DEAI Statement

As an anchor institution in our community and a leader in our field, the Montclair Art Museum (MAM) is committed to supporting and expanding the principles of diversity, equity, accessibility, inclusion, and social justice through all of its actions, including its administrative, curatorial, educational, and human capital policies, practices, and programming; the composition of its staff, leadership, Board of Trustees, instructors, and volunteer corps; and its advocacy and engagement with the community.

Further, we recognize that in addition to being unequivocal in our stance against racism, bias, and microaggressions in all forms in our organization, we can and should do more. We welcome the role the arts can play as a medium of observation, insight, education, articulation, and advocacy. As such, we seek to provide a platform for focusing on challenging social issues through art and serving as a convener and engaged community advocate in addressing these challenges.

From the DEAI Committee Chairs

Our DEAI Review

After embarking on an initial self-assessment of DEAI at the Museum in 2019, the Board of the Montclair Art Museum created the DEAI Committee in spring of 2020. Tasked with conducting a thorough review and assessment of DEAI principles within MAM’s organization, operating model, programs, and infrastructure, the committee prepared a prioritized list of findings and short and long-term action items to integrate DEAI best practices into MAM’s operating model. This committee, made up of trustees, staff, and members of the community, undertook a year-long examination through five working groups.

  • MAM’s Mission, Vision and Values
  • Art: Collections, Exhibitions, and Media
  • Facilities, Website, Events, and Visitor Experience
  • Membership, Programs, Classes, and Community Service
  • Organization: People, Procedures, and Culture

Each working group prepared a report on their area for the entire committee, which then prepared a final report with prioritized action items. This report was finalized and approved by MAM’s Board of Trustees in January 2022.

Our Board and staff are committed to achieving the goals set out in this report. The DEAI Committee will continue to operate, monitoring and holding the Museum accountable to continue progress in this important area, and to spur MAM to serve as a leader among museums and arts organizations as well as within our community. The Report is not a final step in the process but a call to continued action that must take place to achieve the goals of social justice and access for all members of our community through engagement with art.

Our DEAI Efforts as a part of MAM’s Strategy

MAM’s strategic priorities fall into five broad categories: People, Programs, Partnerships, Promotion, and Plant (Place, Facility, and Equipment). Within each area, MAM has made significant strides in advancing its commitment to DEAI. Below are goals for each of these areas and examples of actions already undertaken or underway for the Museum to continue to progress within each of the five priority areas.

People

Goals

  • Develop and implement short and long-term strategies, including goals and measures of success to address representation challenges for professional staff, trustees, instructors, and docent positions
  • Formalize and standardize key human resources policies and protocols, e.g., staffing, onboarding, training, separations, complaint resolution, etc.

Implementation

  • Six-month Yancey Consulting Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression Training attended by representatives of board and staff sponsored by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
  • Partnered with the NJ Division of Civil Rights to provide customized implicit bias training for MAM’s staff, instructors, and docents; hosted a Youth Bias Task Force Art Competition exhibition
  • Expanded recruitment outreach and revised requirements for new positions, resulting in more diverse pools of candidates and hires for pipeline and managerial positions
  • Recruited a new, more diverse team of Museum docents and art instructors for tour groups, classes, and summer camp
  • Launched a paid internship program with Montclair State University; hired one intern for full-time work upon graduation
  • Became an ArtTable fellowship host organization serving graduate students and emerging professionals from under-represented backgrounds
  • Appointed an ADA coordinator and made contact information publicly available for questions, suggestions, or grievances about accessibility; established a grievance policy and process

Programs

Goals

  • Continue to collect artworks and put on exhibitions featuring the diversity of artists in the American community. Upcoming exhibitions include vanessa german: Miracles and Glory Abound in her first solo show in the New York area and African American Artists from the Collection
  • Reinstall Native American permanent collection in collaboration with MAM’s Native American Art Advisory Council, local and regional representatives, and Indigenous partners across North America
  • Comprehensively update and develop our Native American program for reciprocal benefit of Indigenous communities
  • Continue to expand programs and broaden our outreach to the community in conjunction with our partners

Implementation

  • Range of exhibitions that are curated by and/or feature people and works from under-represented communities, including Color Riot! How Color Changed Navajo Textiles, Transformed: Objects Reimagined by America Artists and Tenacity & Resilience: The Art of Jerry Pinkney
  • Continued commitment to permanent collection acquisitions from under-represented artists. Recent additions to the collection include works by Julie Mehretu, Dread Scott, Jeremy Dennis, and others reflecting our long-standing commitment to diversity
  • Expanded the Ben Jones Scholarship Program for aspiring art students in partnership with the African American Cultural Committee (AACC)
  • Offered a diverse range of programming, including artist talks, film premieres, artist-led teen programs, and gallery interventions
  • Forged relationships with new community partners to host celebrations of Juneteenth, Diwali, and Lunar New Year
  • Offered virtual town halls with community partners to take concrete action on community issues inspired by our exhibitions; providing ASL interpretation or captioning for large public programs as a standard offering

Partnerships

Goals

  • Continue to expand and deepen outreach to educational institutions at all levels, including non-traditional, K-12, and colleges/universities, as well as other diverse partners and strategic alliances
  • Expand partnerships and affinity group relations to bring increased participation in Museum activities and support of a strong community

Implementation

  • Partnered with other groups and organizations to host arts and cultural-related events on the grounds of MAM; recent examples include collaborations with Empower the Village in celebration of Juneteenth, teen programs with Out Montclair, and celebrations of Diwali and Lunar New Year with AAPI Montclair
  • Worked with veterans’ organizations, including the Warrior Writers, Frontline Arts, and the Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Service at the VA New Jersey Health Care System, in conjunction with the By Our Own Hands exhibition
  • Working with disability and translation scholars at Montclair State University to develop audio descriptions for video installations and a pilot tours for people who are blind or have vision loss
  • Began offering education tours and artmaking activities to the Jersey City public schools

Promotion

Goals

  • Continue communication of DEAI progress at MAM
  • Digitize and make accessible MAM’s collections on website

Implementation

  • Created dedicated webpages for DEAI and the AACC on the MAM website
  • Activated social media with posts featuring the range of artists and works in our collection
  • Revising online access to our collection
  • Creating an archive of virtual tours of recent exhibitions

Plant

Goals

  • Develop a plan and funding strategy under the advisement of the Accessibility Advisory Committee to address accessibility issues in all aspects of MAM’s operations, including communications, visitor experience, and physical property
  • Redesign of wayfinding and informational signage to be fully accessible for people of all abilities

Implementation

  • Created an Access Advisory Committee to review the Museum facility and all operations for improved accessibility for people with of all abilities
  • Updated restroom signage to include all gender restroom signs
  • Offering information and exhibition interpretation materials in a variety of formats, including large print, audio, and video for increased accessibility

Montclair Art Museum is committed to maintaining open and ongoing dialogue with you about our progress, and pledges to update this page as we continue to take steps in furtherance of our goals.

If you or your organization are interested in creating community together, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us at DEAI@montclairartmuseum.org.