At a time when the current U.S. President and the cronies in his cabinet have adopted a white nationalist agenda, institutions around the country have worked to affirm their commitments to diversity and inclusion.
Today, the Cleveland Museum of Art
unfurled new banners that reflect the museum's inclusive philosophy.
“With issues of tolerance and diversity so prominent in the current national conversation, we feel it is important to emphasize the museum’s role as a welcoming place for all,” says William M. Griswold, museum director, in a press release about the new banners. “From the very beginning, it was important to our founders that we provide access to art from all over the world. The museum has always been free and open to the public, helping a broad audience to understand and engage with great art. We highlighted this commitment in our centennial celebration last year, and it remains as strong as ever as we embark on our next century.”
The banners feature the words “for the benefit of all the people forever” in homage to what was written on the façade of the museum’s 1916 building. The statement comes from Jeptha Wade’s 1892 deed of gift for the land on which the museum stands. In addition, both the museum’s website and new signage will emphasize the depth of its commitment to “individual expression and the interconnectedness—and interdependency—of humankind.” Through its programs, events, and exhibitions, the museum seeks to create an environment for “open dialogue” and a “richly varied, inclusive cultural experience.”
“Art allows us to see and imagine things we would not be able to otherwise,” says Griswold. “As we face today’s challenges and uncertainties, we need to be able to imagine solutions that do not yet exist. All of our efforts are intended to inspire great ideas and foster a shared sense of hope, community, and possibility. We invite everyone to join us in the conversation. The museum’s mission is as relevant and important today as it was over one hundred years ago. It remains a place to explore history and creativity, a venue for the exchange of ideas, and an institution where neighbors can celebrate their differences and reflect on their shared humanity. In today’s increasingly fractured society, our mandate—to serve 'all the people' — resonates more loudly and widely than ever before.”