Surveying BIPOC and Black board representation at SoCal museums and performing arts groups

Posted on: May 27, 2021

“The murder of George Floyd and subsequent reckoning over systemic racism in this country has sparked a growing call for cultural institutions to address diversity, equity and inclusion,” write Deborah Vankin and Makeda Easter in Tuesday’s (5/22) Los Angeles Times. “But change is often slow—and it frequently comes from … the … board of directors or board of trustees, [who] make critical decisions with consequences rippling throughout every level of the institution…. The Times surveyed 10 major Southern California museums and 10 major performing arts companies and venues.” The orchestras in the survey are the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic. “We simply asked for three numbers: board members, board members who are Black, Indigenous or other people of color, and more specifically, board members who are Black. At the museums The Times surveyed, Black members made up just 5.4% of the boards … even though Black people make up an estimated 9% of L.A. County’s population…. While nearly 74% of L.A. County is nonwhite, only 19.5% of the museum board members identified as nonwhite…. The performing arts companies enumerated 251 board members, of whom only 14 people, or 5.6%, were Black. The number of BIPOC board members was 46, or 18.3%.”