On May 26, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year old Black man, was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Floyd’s death was followed by national and international protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
ArtCenter President Lorne Buchman was compelled to share his reflections about the civil unrest in an email to our College community. “And so, as rage and grief pour out onto our streets,” he pondered, “how can ArtCenter, in all its creative power, participate in healing the pervasiveness of hate and racism that afflicts us—and has done so for generations?”
Like many cultural and educational institutions, ArtCenter has wrestled with our own role in perpetuating and contributing to a system that favors White voices in academia and a cannon that favors a Western Civilization view of art and design. And, while diverse in many respects, Black and Brown students and faculty remain underrepresented at the College.
ArtCenter has already taken important steps to address these issues in a number of ways, among them: embedding diversity initiatives into our strategic plans, establishing a shared governance Council on Diversity and Inclusion, implementing a Board-created quasi-endowment fund to offer scholarships to diverse students, hiring the College’s first-ever chief diversity officer, and hosting a number of critical conversations and community-building events and activities. Still, ArtCenter acknowledges that there’s more work to be done.
In that spirit, Aaron Bruce, our vice president and chief diversity officer, presided over a community update to address how the College intends to move “From Words to Action.” During the presentation, Bruce, Buchman, ArtCenter Provost Karen Hofmann, and Title IX Director Kristen Entringer outlined a number of commitments to support members of our Black community.
From Words to Action
June 9, 2020
Community and Cultural Commitments
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This is a time for fundamental, systemic change. It begins with looking deep into ourselves, our institution, recognizing and acknowledging that the scourge of racism, unacceptably, exists within higher education in the United States and ArtCenter is no exception. We need to cultivate a culture of honesty and the courage to uncover the truth. We need to listen with open hearts and minds. And, we need to commit to the long term.Lorne Buchman, President