Americans for the Arts leader takes paid leave amid concerns over racial equity, workplace environment

Posted on: December 18, 2020

“Robert Lynch, chief executive of Americans for the Arts, will take a paid leave of absence as the national arts organization investigates its practices related to racial equity and diversity and complaints about its workplace environment,” writes Peggy McGlone in Wednesday’s (12/16) Washington Post. “Lynch’s decision on Wednesday comes after a Washington Post report revealed widespread condemnation of AFTA by advisory council members and current and former staff, who criticized what they have deemed insufficient efforts toward racial equity, transparency and accountability. The article also described charges of a hostile workplace.… The group’s board of directors said it has hired Proskauer Rose, an international law firm based in New York City, to investigate the hostile work environment claims. In addition, the organization hired the Hewlin Group, a consulting firm for employment issues with offices in D.C., to review its workplace policies and procedures … ‘including, but not limited to, progress regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion …,’ the board said. Lynch’s leave is effectively immediately.… The organization … [stated] ‘…We have listened to the voices within the arts community calling for institutional equity and racial justice within our organization and the wider industry.’ ”