MAG displays a Black Lives Matter banner in the spirit of humanism, civil rights, and in solidarity with our Black community and other historically marginalized groups. We recognize that for some this may represent a specific political ideology, but this is not our purpose. Rather, we display this banner because we are focused on reaching out to and welcoming Rochester’s large and vibrant Black community. Data shows that a disproportionate number of Black people in Rochester—more than any other segment of our community—have been categorically and systematically excluded from many of the resources and institutions that make Rochester a vibrant place to live and that add to the quality of life here. In addition to being a symbol of the work we are doing in all corners of our institution to be anti-racist and more equitable, the banner is also a symbol of our commitment to being at the center of conversations about art and creativity. These conversations must involve Black lives. Contributing to the well-being of Black lives in our community is essential to our work if art and culture are going to help make Rochester an even better place to live.

Some of the Work We Are Doing

MAG’s Land Acknowledgment will be read for the first time on November 3, 2021.

MAG hired Calvin Eaton of CDE Consulting and 540 W Main to help guide our DEAI efforts through April 2022.

The Director’s Advisory Council (DAC), which first met in November 2019, is a broadly representative, deliberative group that meets quarterly with the Director of the Memorial Art Gallery to advise him on diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion strategies that support, strengthen, and otherwise sustain MAG and its community of staff, volunteers, guests, and visitors.

On February 23, 2021, Rachel Y. DeGuzman of 21st Century Arts Inc. and host of Activating Art and Justice Radio moderated a conversation with MAG Board President Dr. Marilynn Patterson Grant and The Strong National Museum of Play Board President Dr. Cecilia Griffin Golden, about their leadership and equity in the Greater Rochester arts and cultural landscape. CLICK HERE to listen to the conversation.

MAG’s Board of Managers is engaged in an ongoing discussion about DEAI and its relevance to the work of the Board and the mission of the institution. Conversations at the Board level often begin with assigned readings. A few examples of these readings follow:

“How Can We Help You?,” by Darren Walker, Civicus, State of Civil Society report, 2015.

Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion in Museums, editors, Johnetta Betsch Cole and Laura L. Lott, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers / American Alliance of Museums, 2019.

“Museums Need to Step Into the Future,” by Darren Walker, New York Times, July 26, 2019.

“How Board Directors Can Advance Racial Justice,” by Stephanie J. Creary and John W. Rogers Jr., strategy+business, January 5, 2021.

Between November 9, 2020 and April 19, 2021 all MAG staff completed as a group the Rochester United Way 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge.

On July 24, 2020, MAG Director Jonathan P. Binstock’s opinion essay “To Appreciate the Arts We Must Appreciate Each Other” appeared in Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle newspaper. CLICK HERE to read the article.

At the annual meeting of MAG’s Board of Managers on June 24, 2020, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker led a conversation about art museums and civil society. CLICK HERE to view the conversation.

In response to the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, MAG issued a public statement. CLICK HERE to read the statement.