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A message from TMA Director Adam Levine

A dome shaped red sculpture with large fins along the top stands in front of a marble building with columns.
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There are two things that I want to say clearly. Number one - at the Toledo Museum of Art, Black Lives Matter. Violence and oppression of black and brown bodies is reprehensible. Number two – museums are not neutral. Our collections and exhibitions should be used to promote equity and empathy.

Last week I made statements on behalf of the Toledo Museum of Art and I can see now how insensitive and painful my remarks were. I am sorry. I spoke when I should have listened. I will learn, and I will do better.

As the new director of TMA, I want to assure you that the team will be accelerating major steps to address and counteract the injustices of institutional racism on several fronts. First and most immediately, we are convening internal and external groups to guide us on issues related to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI). Additionally, we will be taking the following steps:

  • In the next fiscal year (beginning July 1), TMA staff will go through a first wave of unconscious bias training. Such training will become part of our onboarding process and refreshers will be given to all staff on a set cadence.
  • Next fiscal year, we will create a formal DEAI plan to which we will hold ourselves accountable. The plan will include staff, volunteer, Board, and community input.
  • In the coming weeks, staff will be engaged in focus groups to get feedback, discuss the experience of working at the Museum, and provide feedback on the DEAI process.
  • Management was beginning, but will prioritize, outreach to communities of color to better understand how the Museum can broaden its service and impact. These efforts will be led by an advisory group that we will convene with the assistance of an outside consultant with knowledge of the Toledo community.
  • Management will formalize changes to our recruitment practices to ensure more diversity in our applicant pools.
  • Over the next year, the Museum will be writing a collections development policy and revising its exhibitions selection process to ensure more diversity in its core, art-related activities. The Museum started down this path with exhibitions of work by Kehinde Wiley and Kara Walker and has continued with exhibitions like Mirror, Mirror and Picture ID.

I hope that you will stand with us as we work with our valued community, partners, and neighbors towards a more inclusive future. I will hold myself accountable for the progress at TMA as we move forward.

I look forward to your continued feedback as we embark on these critical efforts to enact long-term change.

I am listening, I am learning, and with your help, we will build a more equitable museum and society.