TO BUILD TRUST BETWEEN THE MUSEUM & BIPOC & LGBTQ+ COMMUNITIES
. . . is something that must be properly and adequately understood before institutions can honestly and justly assert that they are, in effect, building relationships with its publics that are mutually grounded in trust. Therefore, it also means understanding that trust is always already about the risk we assume in the act of placing ‘faith’ or ‘confidence’ in another party’s fiduciary obligation—which is to say, faith and confidence in another’s actions and motives in placing the interests of other above one’s own. This constitutes a very complex and complicated terrain. One the one hand, Museums as community-based cultural institutions, exercise a degree of cultural and pedagogical authority. This authority results from forms of accumulated value that are linked to colonial and imperial regimes as well as war, looting, and private collecting practices. On the other hand, Can the interests of such institutions take a back seat to external interests? What does it mean to ask such institutions to place interests of marginalized communities ahead of its own? If such an act was possible, how might this look? Finally, to what extent can museums and marginalized communities mutually attune themselves to each other’s interests?
TO ADVANCE THE MUSEUM’S I.D.E.A. MOTIVATIONS
. . . happens when, over time, VCCI has situated itself, as a collaborative entity, within Museum’s educational, curatorial, and administrative infrastructure. This means that educational, curatorial, and administrative initiatives benefit greatly when time, effort, and attention is given over to serious engagement with context, power, and culture. This means creating the inclusive and diverse spaces for exhibitions that allow for serious engagement with relevant issues around history, culture, and artistic value. It means interpreting exhibitions from a curatorial standpoint that seriously interrogates art historical themes, cultural heritage, and cultural power. It means having educational programs that will continue to emerge that extend the dialogues generated by these exhibitions in ways that, rather than isolate audiences, encourage critical thinking and reevaluating traditional beliefs and assumptions. In this atmosphere, Plains Art Museum will continue to practice accessibility, not just in terms of increasing physical access to its structures and its galleries but also in terms of thinking seriously about how museums access their publics and influence the activity of everyday lives.
TO ELEVATE DIVERSE AND ARTISTICALLY CREATIVE VOICES
. . . requires a certain mode of radical listening that repositions us as learners and increases opportunities for cross-experiential interactions that are sometimes pleasant and sometimes antagonistic but always productive. Through radical listening, we are able to work toward co-creating equitable context for productive and equitable communication. To do the work of elevating voices–those voices that already exist under the duress of regimes of censorship–means submitting ourselves to encounter the full range of emotional and affective contexts out of which these voices articulate themselves. This means creating programs, exhibitions, speaking opportunities, events, and a multitude of creative contexts that make room and allow for these voices to speak, be heard, and to be engaged.