When the University Art Gallery (UAG) was founded decades ago, it followed the colonial model of so many other museums and galleries, a model premised on Eurocentrism — a polite term for white supremacy. While the UAG has deliberately moved away from this model, and we have sought to contest its legacy in our programs and exhibitions, we have not done enough. We must do better, we must do more, and we must do this now.
As a teaching gallery within a large research institution, we have a special responsibility to train the next generation of museum professionals and future leaders. We must use this platform and privilege not to re-inscribe “best practices,” which perpetuate systems of exclusion and racism, but rather to create new practices that place racial equity and justice at the forefront of reimagining and building the museums of tomorrow.
Today, as director and curator of the UAG, I commit to more actively support Black artists and Black visitors, students and staff and to amplify our allyship with Black Lives Matter through actionable steps. The UAG can and must serve as a place of dialogue and change.
I ask you to join me in this commitment and to hold me and the UAG accountable as we move forward.
We want to hear from you, and we will listen.
—- Sylvia Rhor, Director and curator, UAG