In the wake of nationwide protests and civil unrest over the police killings of unarmed black Americans, including the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, 2020, many national organizations have turned to inward to check their progress (if any) in the fight against the race. injustice. Institutional racism has persisted in the United States in one form or another since the post-Civil War Reconstruction era. (These are the worst cities for black Americans.)
The country’s art museums have been no exception to this reckoning – and for obvious reasons. A visit to any major museum in the United States is a showcase of some of the greatest works of white artists past and present.
A large art museum with 20% of works and exhibits by non-white artists can consider itself to have one of the most diverse collections in the country. This, even though non-whites make up nearly 39% of the national population, and in some cities like New Haven, Connecticut, and Baltimore, whites are a minority in the local population.
To determine the most racially diverse art museums, 24/7 Tempo looked at data from the 2019 research article “Diversity of artists in major American museumsby Topaz et al., published in the open access scientific journal PLOS One. Art museums were ranked according to the likelihood that two randomly selected works of art in a museum were by artists of different ethnicities. (Find out if any of these museums are among the most expensive museums in America.)
This recent reckoning not only looked at the racial makeup of artists in museum collections and exhibitions, but also looked at the racial and gender profiles of boardrooms and floor staff.
Last year, the Art Institute of Chicago took the unprecedented step of laying off its entire staff of volunteer guides — mostly white women who could afford to work for free — and replacing them with a more diverse and paid. The High Museum in Atlanta saw the number of non-white visitors rise from 15% to 45% after implementing a multi-pronged strategy that included diversifying its workforce. This initiative to improve diversity in the country’s top art museums is new and still has a long way to go.
Here are the most racially diverse art museums in America
Click here to read our detailed methodology