December 2020 Update: Institutional Commitments

As 2020 concludes, SFMOMA must reflect on a year that was challenging in ways we could never have imagined, while also acknowledging the learning, change, and growth that this year forced the museum to confront and embrace.

With 2021 on the horizon, SFMOMA is thoughtfully building a foundation and process for DEI work that is meaningful and sustainable. These efforts build on those initiated by SFMOMA’s Strategic Plan set forth in 2018. They were further catalyzed by a national reckoning of the systemic racism in this country that resurged in the spring and summer of 2020, a pandemic disproportionately affecting people of color, and an objectionable act of censorship on SFMOMA’s Instagram in spring 2020 that magnified the need for a paradigm shift at the museum.

The current multifaceted DEI journey is being led by a Core Team of trustees and staff from across the organization that was formed in summer of 2020, and Project Teams with specific areas of focus who will identify actionable steps the museum will take. Intentionally focusing on the process alongside the product, the Teams recognize that this work involves real people and emotions, both of which are complex, and that it takes time to ensure everyone at every level of the museum is brought along on the journey, equipped with the tools necessary to not only champion the work but live it.

SFMOMA will begin the new year with a new series of DEI discussions, educational workshops, and feedback sessions for all staff and board members as the museum finalizes its foundational DEI Statement of Intention from which future DEI work will grow. Newly formed Project Teams will begin work in earnest on their area of focus with regular input from all staff. Through this inclusive and intentional process, the museum projects it will finalize a comprehensive DEI Strategic Plan by spring 2021. In the meantime, SFMOMA remains dedicated to sharing regular progress updates at sfmoma.org/dei-actions, and continues to welcome your thoughts and feedback at news@sfmoma.org.

DECEMBER 2020 Update on Institutional Commitments



Status Notes

Launch the Inclusive Internship Initiative
Complete (and ongoing)

In 2018, SFMOMA launched this 10-week paid summer program for undergraduate and graduate students, funded by Bank of America.

Participate in equity trainings and assessment with Race Forward
In fall 2019, over 300 staff and 26 Trustees participated in racial equity trainings facilitated by Race Forward. This was followed by a comprehensive assessment based on learnings from the trainings, a staff-wide survey, and interviews with over 25 staff members from all levels and departments of the museum. Initial findings and recommendations were presented to staff on February 28, 2020, with the final report shared in June 2020.These findings in part inform SFMOMA’s continued DEI work.
Participate in Facing Change initiative
In Progress
SFMOMA’s Board is currently participating in Facing Change: Advancing Board Diversity and Inclusion a three-year program (2019–2021) created by the American Alliance of Museums.
Establish Peggy Guggenheim Fund to help broadly diversify SFMOMA collection
In 2019, the museum established the Peggy Guggenheim Fund with the primary goal of broadly diversifying SFMOMA’s collection. Last fiscal year, the museum acquired 91 works by Black artists, 55 by purchase and 36 by gift.
Hire a Director of Employee Experience and Internal Communication, and Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Kenyatta Parker, director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging started September 9, 2020.

Annie Jizmagian, director of Employee Experience and Internal Communication started September 14, 2020.

Create SFMOMA’s DEI Core Team to help lead DEI activity

In summer 2020 the DEI Core Team was formed of select trustees and staff from across the museum. This group is responsible for designing, coordinating, and organizing racial equity plans and activities up, down, and across the museum with support from DEI consultants Leverage to Lead.

Finalize DEI Project Teams

DEI Project Teams were finalized in November 2020 and comprise a selection of staff from across the organization, led by a Core Team staff member and Trustee. Project Teams will focus on creating equity action plans for specific areas of focus at the museum.

Manage and investigate employee complaints of discrimination and harassment, and conduct a review of past employee complaints, investigatory practices, and case trends.
Complete (with ongoing implementation of new protocols)

During summer 2020, we worked with an external employee relations legal team to review past employee complaints. We have closed all pending matters and are implementing several corrective measures to help prevent and promptly resolve staff concerns.
These measures include a workplace conduct investigations policy and resolution process, as well as expanded confidential reporting options, and in-depth training for supervisors and staff. We will continue to take all steps necessary to ensure a safe, compliant, and inclusive workplace for our staff.

Rodimiro “Ro” Coronado, director of Human Resources and People Operations, was hired in September 2020. He brings over 12 years of labor and employee relations expertise and is leading these efforts.

Begin implicit bias training for all staff, with refresher training every year.
Complete (with ongoing trainings likely)

Since July 2020, staff completed five training sessions facilitated by Dr. Darlene Hall:

  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.

Task leadership and supervisors with creating employee work plans that allow staff to dedicate paid time each month toward DEI work and community volunteering.
In Progress
We are in the process of allocating up to 10 hours a month for our employees to participate in DEI efforts and programs at the museum. The current goal is to roll this out officially in January 2021.
Revise our exhibition review process through a DEI lens to make this process more transparent and inclusive throughout the museum.
In Progress

The first pilot for the Exhibition Development Process rolled out in October 2020. We incorporated more voices (expanded the group to include all senior staff and project/content producers, a new values rubric, and staff opportunities to pitch project ideas as part of the new workflow). The process followed with robust analysis from Exhibitions & Program Management to determine project scope and budget size.

We have a lot to learn from the first round of meetings, and we are continuing to evolve. A second set of meetings took place in November 2020, with updates to the rubric and other expanded areas.

We plan to hold Exhibition Development meetings five times a year for exhibitions that require multiple stakeholders to contribute to sizable projects. We also plan to include the DEI Core team in these meetings starting February 2021 to get their thoughts and ideas incorporated into the process.

Participate in a collaboration/paid intern partnership with the Art History and Curatorial Studies Collective, a consortium of three historically Black colleges and universities: Spelman College, Morehouse College, and Clark Atlanta University.
Complete (with future internships ongoing)

Our two summer interns in the Department of Painting and Sculpture concluded their remote internships and made final presentations on August 27, 2020.

The team is in conversations to continue this partnership in a similar capacity in 2021.

Pilot gender-neutral restrooms in our staff spaces, to be extended throughout the entire museum when funding allows.
In Progress

All staff restrooms (multi- and single occupancy) on levels LL, 8, 9, and 10, and Single and Family restrooms in public spaces on museum levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 have been made All Gender using new signage (no physical retrofits).

Additional restrooms modifications are being explored for a possible Phase 3.

Museums and cultural organizations are not (and should not be) neutral; we need to address what this means for our work at SFMOMA.
In Progress
The DEI Core Team is currently working with Leverage to Lead to create SFMOMA’s DEI Statement of Intention that will be shared with all staff and board for feedback sessions in early 2021.
Develop a long-term programming partnership with one or more Black arts organizations in the Bay Area.
In Progress
We have had several conversations with a potential partner with whom we hope to work.
Provide a professional development program for prospective staff in all areas of museum operations.
In progress

Opportunities will be provided to staff in early 2021 to participate in Talent/HR training topics around Talent Acquisition and Manager Enablement. Further programmatic developments are being evaluated to create pathways for our employees.

Additional training and professional development opportunities are being brainstormed with DEI Project Team deliverables.

Begin plans to publicly share a breakdown of the racial and gender diversity of our staff, trustees, and collection, as we strive to diversify the museum. Our Collections team estimates that it will take two full-time staff members six months to obtain this information as it pertains to all the artists in our collection. This information was not gathered in the past, and its compiling is complex, as best practices move toward self-identifying and self-reporting for living artists. We are currently determining how best to proceed with that research.
In progress

Data for last fiscal year’s dashboard, including staff, trustee, and artist racial and gender breakdown, was shared at the November 2020 public board meeting. This information is planned to be posted by early 2021 on SFMOMA’s intranet and website.

The Collections and Curatorial departments have also been in conversation about the reasons for, the required thoughtfulness of, and the tacit challenges of placing data about artist identities in a collections management system (CMS). While continuing to value the importance of conversation, the Collections team is now moving into a project phase, with the intention of making progress on bringing thoughtful, carefully expressed data about artist backgrounds into our CMS. On a parallel track, colleagues in Curatorial are developing a fresh process for connecting with living artists about biographical information, as well as information about their works. The project is conceived as having three parallel tracks,
Track A – Collections: research, review, express data related to deceased artists
Track B – Collections: research, review, express placeholder data related to living artists (replaced subsequently by self-reported data)
Track C – Curatorial: ask living artists directly about their identities
Moving from being solely in conversation about artist identities to beginning a scoped project is driven by the call for transparency with the museum’s art collection and the museum’s commitment to making the art collection diverse.

Continue to expand and diversify collections and works on view, with an increased focus on the sustained presence and prominence of works by underrepresented artists in the galleries and hire curatorial staff who can support these efforts.
In progress

The Curatorial staff is continuing the work of integrating underrepresented artists into our collection displays, with a particular emphasis on amplifying Black voices. Newly installed works include historic examples by Black American artists from the recent gift from Pamela Joyner and Fred Giuffrida to SFMOMA, including paintings by Jordan Casteel, Beauford Delaney, and Hugie Lee-Smith (Floor 2); a monumental painting by Ed Clark now on extended loan to the museum (Floor 4); and a painting by Ellen Banks (Floor 5).

The museum launched a search for new curatorial staff member(s) in fall 2020.