Arts institutions, such as museums, were founded on colonialist ideas – white Europeans collected the rest of the world during their conquests and travels, establishing places to promote one set of cultural ideals at the expense of others. Though they have reexamined their origins, shifting their missions toward education and visitor experience, museums and other arts institutions carry the baggage of their historic trajectory. For our arts institutions to be truly useful to future audiences, our panelists ask, can we rethink and repair these institutions to make them more relevant? Or, should we knock them all down and rebuild new institutions?
Moderated by Tina Olsen, Director of the University of Michigan Museum of Art.
Maurita Poole is director and curator of the museum at Clark Atlanta University, an HBCU, whose collection focuses on Black artists of the mid-20th century. Her PhD from Emory University is in anthropology; she has worked as a curator at Williams College Museum of Art, The Walters Art Museum, The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.
Terence Washington is program director at NXTHVN, a model to advance the careers of artists and curators of color through mentorship and professional development. He worked in the Education Department at the National Gallery of Art after receiving his master’s degree in art history from Williams College.
Anya Sirota is Associate Professor of Architecture Associate Dean of Academic Initiatives at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Through her design firm, Akoaki, she explores the intersection of design and social enterprise to rethink the urban landscape. She received her Master in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.