Cleveland Museum of Art Focuses on Bringing Diversity to Museums

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The Cleveland Museum of Art opens its doors every day to all visitors free of charge.  However, if very few of the people working there look like you, do you really feel welcome?

“It’s absolutely essential that when you walk into the door of an art museum, like the Cleveland Museum of Art, you see yourself reflected and you feel welcome.  When you don’t see that, you feel like an outsider, it’s very difficult to fully welcome you,” said CMA’s director of education and academic affairs Cyra Levenson.

With a new grant from the Ford and Walton Family Foundation along with the Cleveland Foundation, the Cleveland Museum of Art has undertaken a citywide effort to address the long-standing lack of diversity in the museum profession.  The Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative seeks to nurture and develop talent for the field.

Levenson said the initiative will make young people aware of how broad the career potentials are in the museum field, as well as make internships available to those who haven’t had the opportunity to take advantage of them.  

Using a tiered-mentorship model, the initiative will offer programs that will teach high school students to learn what a curator does. College students will be taught how to give museum tours. Graduate students from across the country will be learn about a public humanities model that teaches them how to turn their scholarships into a public-facing direction.

“Our goal is to make sure our institution on the outside and the inside reflect the diversity of the community and we’re really thinking as broadly as we can on how to make the Cleveland Museum of Art an essential part of living in Cleveland,” Levenson said.


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