Task Force on Art Inclusivity: Interim Report | A. B. Freeman School of Business

Task Force on Art Inclusivity: Interim Report

In August of 2020, the Freeman School Task Force on Art Inclusivity was formed and charged with two tasks: (1) developing a rationale and proposing a process for determing the art that is to be displayed within the Freeman School’s Goldring/Woldenberg Business Complex and Stewart Center CBD; and (2) reviewing art currently displayed in the Freeeman School’s buildings.

Since that time, the Task Force has met on multiple occasions and is now pleased to share with you this interim report.

Rationale

Art is a valuable representation of the varied perspectives of community members within an educational environment. Presenting a collection or selection of visual art offers the opportunity to identify and promote the values of the Freeman School and Tulane University, encourages thinking outside the traditional classroom, and acknowledges the past while also exploring the future.

We believe the art within the Freeman School should represent the diverse community that the School serves, be inclusive of historically underrepresented artists, and embrace the rich differences afforded our community through race, gender, religious beliefs, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, family status, and socioeconomic level.

Process

To meet the Task Force charge, we recommend the following process.

  1. Establishment of guiding principles for art acquisitions or loans for exhibition. Draft guiding principles are attached.
     
  2.  Adoption of a set of considerations and list of questions applied to works of art in consideration for loan or acquisition and exhibition. Draft considerations and questions are below.
    • Considerations:
      • The Freeman School’s unique situation as a business school in New Orleans, especially the contribution of Black artists to the visual arts, music, and culture of the City
      • Tulane’s Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Statement
      • The complexities of our heritage in the American South and depictions that provide historical accuracy; depictions may need to be removed from view; depictions may merit, under limited circumstances, explanation and acknowledgement that they do not represent  Tulane’s current values
    • Questions:
      • i. Object History and Mechanics of Acquisition
        • 1. What is the ownership history of the work of art?
        • 2. What is the authenticity of the work of art?
        • 3. What is the exhibition history of the work of art?
        • 4. Does the acquisition of the art work raise any specific known legal compliance or ethical considerations?
        • 5. What are the circumstances under which this art is being offered to the School?
      • ii. Object Content/Substance
        • 1. When was the work of art made?
        • 2. What culture made it?
        • 3. Is the artist considered an underrepresented minority or from a historically underrepresented community?
        • 4. On initial viewing, what does the work of art appear to mean?
        • 5. Does the work of art convey a feeling?
        • 6. What is exciting about this art?
        • 7. What is the story being told in this work of art? What does this art say about the world in which we live?
        • 8. What does this artwork teach us about the past?
        • 9. What might this artwork teach us about the future?
           
  3. Review of art currently displayed in the Freeman School’s buildings by this Task Force, using the above considerations and questions.
     
  4. Formation of a standing committee to advise the Dean on visual art acquisitions, loans, collections and exhibitions after this Task Force’s work is complete. This committee would provide advice to the Dean at his/her request on matters releated to art in Freeman School facilities. Members could include current Freeman students, faculty and staff, as well as Freeman alumni or supporters, with a background in art. Other community members to consider include faculty or staff at the Newcomb Art Department and Museum, and staff from other museums and arts organizations, both local and national.

Next Steps

As next steps, we propose this Task Force will review the art items in the collection or on view in the Freeman School’s facilities using the principles, considerations and questions above. As part of our review, we will make any recommendations for removal of works that are not reflective of the principles and considerations above. We will also consider recommendations for types of art the Freeman School may want to acquire or exhibit to improve diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion.We intend to have our report to you by June 1, 2021.

Draft Guiding Principles for Acquisition of Art or Loans

  • The Freeman School seeks to acquire or exhibit authentic artworks of high aesthetic quality.
  • The Freeman School seeks to acquire or exhibit artworks that enhance the social, cultural and educational experience of the Freeman School community, including students, faculty, staff and alumni.
  • The Freeman School seeks to acquire and exhibit artworks that support and enhance its diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives by placing an increased focus on artwork made by historically underrepresented artists, particularly artists of color.
  • The Freeman School will not acquire or exhibit any artwork whose monumental size, poor condition, or lack of aesthetic quality makes it impossible to store, care for and exhibit.
  • The Freeman School will not acquire artworks that violate the laws and conventions governing the ethical acquisition of cultural property.