Newfields Shares 30-Day Action Plan
Newfields in Indianapolis has shared an action plan that it says will focus the museum on becoming an “empathetic, multicultural and anti-racist institution.” Over the past month, the museum says it has listened to staff, volunteers, docents and community members to put together the plan, which includes a set of initial actions.
The action plan follows the resignation of Newfields’ chief executive officer who came under fire last month after a job posting was discovered that listed “maintaining the Museum’s traditional, core, white art audience” as part of the position’s duties.
“Over the past month, we’ve listened, we’ve learned, and now we have acted to take Newfields in a new direction. The Board of Trustees believes deeply in this plan, and we will support it with real resources, energy, and investment,” said Kathryn Betley, chair of Newfields’ Board of Trustees.
According to the museum, the plan includes a $20-million endowment that will be dedicated to the works of marginalized artists. The plan also includes a more diverse board of trustees, organization-wide DEIA training, as well as a series of new programming, community partnerships and free membership offerings to bring Newfields to a wider, more diverse, audience.
“This is a beginning, but it’s only a beginning,” said Darrianne Christian, Newfields trustee and chair of the board’s commitment committee. “Our goal is to transform Newfields into an inclusive and empathetic place where community engagement, critical conversations and collaboration define our path forward.”
Newfields’ Action Plan includes the following:
- $20-Million Endowment to Enhance Representation in Exhibitions and Programming: Newfields is establishing a $20-million endowment, the proceeds of which will be dedicated to the acquisition of art created by BIPOC artists and artists from other marginalized identities.
- New Community Advisory Committee: Led by Dr. Sean Huddleston, President of Martin University and a highly respected community leader, a new Community Advisory Committee will bring Newfields closer to its neighbors and bring community voices directly to leadership.
- Increasing Leadership Diversity: By May 2021, new appointments will result in nearly 25% of the Board of Trustees representing diverse backgrounds, an increase from the current 8%.
- Hiring a Leadership-Level Diversity Executive: Newfields will recruit a senior-level executive reporting to the President and CEO to help drive the work required to become an empathetic, multicultural and anti-racist museum, and to oversee Newfields’ procurement processes, helping foster diversity across vendors and suppliers.
- Top-to-Bottom Outside Review of Leadership, Culture and Policies: Outside experts including Ice Miller’s Racial Equity Solutions Group and PINK! Consulting are conducting exhaustive interviews and listening sessions with Newfields staff and stakeholders, and will recommend comprehensive ways to transform the institution.
- Organization-Wide DEIA Training: All staff, docents and volunteers will receive ongoing DEIA training, and board members will complete additional 2-day intensive training.
- Expanding Access, Partnerships and Free Memberships: Newfields will create a neighborhood pass to provide free memberships to area residents and expand free memberships with local community groups. Newfields will expand its complimentary student membership program, which already includes Marion County public schools and public and non-profit universities and colleges, to include Ivy Tech.
- 50,000 Free and Discounted Tickets Annually: Newfields will significantly increase free and discounted ticket distribution, including to signature programming such as Harvest, Winterlights, and THE LUME, accelerating this commitment from 2023 to 2021.
- Expanded First Thursdays: Effective April 1, Newfields will expand its popular First Thursdays program, providing free general admission to the IMA Galleries and The Garden on the first Thursday of each month, for the full day, year-round.
You can read more about the museum’s action plan by clicking here.