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Thread: Get Lost, you are not diverse enough

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    Get Lost, you are not diverse enough

    I could not believe this article but have also found it in the WSJ. The Art Institute of Chicago dismissed ALL of its trained volunteer docents because they were mostly white, well off, women. Not many others have the free time to train and provide the vast hours they have to the museum.

    Now it will take 3+ years (per them) to recreate something for paid employees like what they already were doing successfully with volunteers. IF anyone wants to do the work to get to the level of knowledge that was already doing the job.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/chicago-m...150838189.html

    Personally, I will not visit or provide any support to such an organization. Our Museum of Art dismissed all its paid security staff that helped and answered questions in the galleries. They tried to hire Work Study students until it was found that you cannot replace paid staff with Work Study students. Lots of crazy stuff going on behind the scenes that then pops out in the media.

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    Senior Member Yppej's Avatar
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    My city government is not diverse enough. Another city in my state, Worcester, recently fixed this problem by not having all their school board seats be at large. But in my city we are still stuck in the past and as a result we have an all white, all at large school committee, an appointed all white Board of Health, and all white Health Department failing miserably at getting the Latinx population vaccinated against covid. The solution they have come up with is not to diversify but to pass increasingly draconian measures on a student body that is three quarters persons of color. Whites controlling the bodies of POC brings back so many bad historical echoes. At a minimum the composition of the Board of Health could be changed, but no one has the political will to do it.

    So there is a real problem with racism to this day, but sweetana I agree there are better approaches than the ones you wrote about.

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    If they want to purge some white guys from the collection, I could probably fit a Seurat or a Monet on my basement wall.

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    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    The Art Institute is my favorite local museum. Had a membership years ago. Stupid diversity woke crap. Won’t be supporting them again.

    And I dare ask - would diversity hires actually be interested in fine art? I’m betting not. I’m of the opinion that whenever you hire someone just for diversity’s sake, the quality of the hires goes way down

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    My husband is part of a large team of volunteers called the Tiger Team that provides vast amounts of hours and work for Habitat for Humanity. During build season, he works 5-6 days 7-2 usually. Note they are all volunteers. Granted they are mostly white older retirement aged males (some female). They are accepting of anyone that wants to help. If they said all you guys go home you are not diverse enough, HforH would have to hire out all the work they do. Note the population being helped is overwhelmingly minority. They would love more minority Tigers but have been "ignored" by all the groups they reached out to from trade groups to churches. You do have to have free time during working hours to help. Therefore, you have to have some other sources of income to have the free time to give.

    He also works with a group of all volunteers that builds wheelchair ramps and again it is highly male, older and white. And yet, the population they are helping is overwhelmingly minority.

    Both these groups have open calls for volunteers and work with companies that provide volunteers (although not as many employees are signing up these days).

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    This move by the Art Institute of Chicago also seems like a good way to alienate major donors. There is only so much white guilt in play, and after a play like this they may have used it all up.

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    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    There is a fine line between promoting diversity and stupidity. How much diversity in their major donors? Is the museum open to all regardless of religion, race and economic status? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Sweetana3 what a wonderful story. I belong to a group that helps foster kids and those who have aged out of foster care. It didn’t dawn on me that we have little diversity in our group. We raise a ton of money, tutor, mentor and do projects.

    Make no mistake. If abortion is banned like I think it will be, there will be more poverty, more child abuse, more homelessness and more kids in foster care. Who is going to try to help these unfortunate unwanted kids? Volunteers, that is who. Who cares what color their skin or god they believe in?

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
    The Art Institute is my favorite local museum. Had a membership years ago. Stupid diversity woke crap. Won’t be supporting them again.

    And I dare ask - would diversity hires actually be interested in fine art? I’m betting not. I’m of the opinion that whenever you hire someone just for diversity’s sake, the quality of the hires goes way down
    Also, I love the way they think they can go out and hire people in this economy where there is extreme shortage of workers.

    I’m sure this whole scheme has deeper roots and and reasons behind it, but it sure is a PR nightmare. For all we know the program has been floundering as volunteer-only staffing.

    They didnt present their decision well or anticipate the fallout.

    Getting minority participation in the leading old-white bastions of culture (symphony, art museum) is the Gold standard. It seems to me that these institutions are spending platinum level resources on it. Worth it?

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    Our Museum of Art was previously free with donation accepted. Anyone of any income level could come. Now there is an $18 ticket fee with a reduced cost for children. They don't show it right up front but you have to dig for the cost. Exchanges are hard.

    They do have an "access program" for those on food stamps, Hoosier Healthwise, and Temporary Assistance which has to be applied for and is $2 per family member per visit. This is a program for many of the museums and attractions in the city. But it is complex to navigate. And there are specific groups such as, college students, students on assignment, current military, etc. who can come in for free or reduced cost.

    Just found another article that quoted an employee of the AI that new positions would be created that are part time and pay $25 an hour. But with the following requirements, how are they going to find such part time people:

    Quoted from article:Here are some facts you should know about the docents. They’re unpaid volunteers: not just any volunteers, but highly skilled and well-trained volunteers. According to the docents’ committee letter to AIC President James Rondeau, each docent had to undergo “eighteen months of twice-a-week training to qualify as a docent.”

    In addition, they had to have “five years of continual research and writing to meet the criteria of 13 museum content areas, and monthly and bi-weekly training to further educate ourselves with the materials, processes, and cultural context of the AIC’s 300,000 works of art.” On average, each docent had 15 years of experience in “training, research, collaboration, and facilitating the highest-quality tours worthy of an AIC program.”

    The AIC docent corps existed for six decades. They helped make every visit to this world-class institute a memorable experience. Besides offering highly informed and tailored tours to students and visitors, the docents did research projects, published papers, and organized lectures.

    They also raised money to fund scholarships and art programs for students, and specifically reached out to “students with special access needs.” At the time they were terminated, the docent corps consisted of 82 active docents and 40 school group greeters.

    In recent years, AIC and the docent corps have tried to recruit people of varied skin colors to become docents but apparently haven’t been successful enough for the institute’s leadership. The intense time commitment, the amount of knowledge and training required to do the job well, and the fact that this is an unpaid volunteer position, mean that being a docent is not suitable or desirable for everyone. Not surprisingly, many of AIC’s docents have been older white women who love art, have the time to be trained, and can afford to work for free.

  10. #10
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    As Bae might say, This is why we canít have nice things.

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