August 2021 Update: Institutional DEI Commitments

In the past quarter we prioritized and embraced perspectives that harness our core value of inclusivity and goal to be a museum of many voices in dialogue — from the art we showcase in our galleries to the internally focused Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work we’ve been carrying out.

After reopening in March, we successfully opened the exhibition Nam June Paik on May 8 to rave reviews from the press and public. From the SF Examiner, “An artist whose work, fifteen years after his death, still feels prescient, while radiating an optimism we currently need.” The retrospective is the first major Paik show in the U.S. in over twenty years and the first-ever large-scale survey of his work on the West Coast. Other new exhibitions in Q4 included Contemporary Optics, featuring the return of Olafur Eliasson’s One-way colour tunnel, a visitor favorite, and the long-awaited arrival of Diego Rivera’s monumental mural Pan American Unity, which opened in our free-to-the-public Roberts Family Gallery on June 28.

Our biggest internal DEI milestone this quarter was finalizing the museum’s Statement of Intention, a document that speaks to the intent behind the actionable and impactful work ahead and represents perspectives and voices from across the museum — all staff, the DEI core team, executive team, and the board. The statement amplifies our key goals to acknowledge the past and to identify values and the framework we will use to move forward, inspire hope, and hold ourselves accountable.

Staff and trustees participated in hours of conversations, discussions, and thoughtful debates to ensure that the important work outlined in the Statement of Intention was prioritized and that we remained vigilant about achieving our larger collective goals.

With this groundwork, the completion of the Statement of Intention marks a crucial and transformative step in SFMOMA’s DEI journey. Since releasing the statement in early May, the museum began activating Phase II of our DEI Strategic Plan, which includes prioritizing the completion and phasing of each DEI Project Team’s respective action plan and finalizing the DEI Strategic Plan.

As we continue to advance efforts on transforming our culture from the inside out, the museum has partnered with a licensed psychologist and gender therapist/specialist. They are consulting on the most appropriate and inclusive identity terminology and information-gathering practices for use across departments. During summer 2021, the consultant will lead three diversity and inclusion trainings on gender identity and sexuality diversity for all staff. Future sessions with our trustees will follow later in the year.

August 2021 Update on Our Institutional DEI Commitments

Complete (and Ongoing)

    1. Power and Privilege 101
    2. The Psychology of Privilege
    3. Conflict and Communication
    4. Sociocultural and Privilege Dynamics in Communication
    5. Closing out the Diversity Action Framework

All staff completed a new Unconscious Bias Training in November 2020. Additional training is likely to be developed with DEI Project Team deliverables.


In Progress