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Newfields announces listening sessions and new board chair

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Posted at 11:12 AM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 11:12:12-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Newfields wants to know what you think about its plan to make the Indianapolis Museum of Art a more diverse, inclusive and accessible place.

Visitors of the art museum can share their feedback at a listening session on June 3. It goes from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion. Members of the Newfields Board of Trustees will be there to chat with visitors, including its newly appointed board chair, Darrianne Christian.

Christian will be the first Black woman to lead at Newfields, and, according to the museum, the first to lead a major art museum in the United States.

“I can see and feel the change beginning at Newfields. It’s coming from our community, our employees, and from leaders bringing in new perspectives," Christian stated. "This is a wonderful institution, and I want every person, regardless of who they are or where they live, to not just feel welcome here, but to see themselves reflected in what Newfields offers. We can do better and I will work every day to make this the community anchor Indianapolis deserves."

The changes come about three months after Newfields posted a job description for a new director that stated the person hired needed to attract a more diverse audience while "maintaining the museum's traditional, core, white art audience."

Newfields has since created a diversity and inclusion action plan that includes free First Thursday, anti-racism training, more inclusive programming and more. Its former president, Charles Venable, also resigned.

“I am so proud of what we’ve been able to achieve these past three years, how Newfields has weathered challenging times. We are reaching record numbers of visitors and our offerings have never been more dynamic, creative or engaging,” Katie Betley, the outgoing board of trustees chair stated in a release to WRTV. “I’ve watched Darrianne pour her heart and soul into making Newfields a truly diverse and inclusive institution. She has had my support with every step, and I look forward to championing and celebrating that work in every way I can.”

Newfields reports it has also increased the diversity of its trustees from 8% with "diverse backgrounds" to 25%.