NY Mayor To Cut Funding For Museums Seen As “Too White”


A study conducted under the directive of New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio, showed that the cultural institutions in the city lack racial diversity. 

As a result, the mayor plans to cut subsidies for museums with workforces that are deemed “too white” so that people of color will no longer be under-represented.

De Blasio’s diversity decree aims to change the workforce setup in nonprofit organizations that run the 33 museums, theaters, concert halls, botanical gardens and zoos that comprise the city’s “Cultural Institutions Group.”  The list includes Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.

The study was conducted by Southern Methodist University (Southern Methodist University) and funded by Deutsche Bank. It revealed that white people are overrepresented in cultural institutions of the city. 

White women represent 65 percent of employees and the disabled 8 percent while, only 11 percent of cultural workers are Hispanic, 10 percent black, 6 percent are Asian, although they represent 29 percent, 22 percent and 14 percent of the total New York population, respectively.

The study also found that a considerable share of the museum workforce – 15 percent – identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or queer.

“NYC residents represent an array of cultures, histories, backgrounds, and experiences – and our cultural organizations must reflect that extraordinary breadth. We’re really careful to show that we do not encourage quotas, but rather practices that diversify the workforce,” said Tom Finkelpearl, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

 “This means we need to look at diversity across a number of metrics, including age, disability status, and LGBTQ identity as well as race and gender.

“This new DataArts survey gives us a tool we can use to do that more effectively and over time.

“The data we gather will help us design programs to support NYC’s arts and cultural institutions in their ongoing efforts to create opportunities for all New Yorkers.”

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