‘We want transformation’: Museums face calls to better represent people of color

INDIANAPOLIS — As young as 5 years old, La Tanya Autry loved visiting local museums like the Detroit Institute of Art with her mom. She relished the shows, dances and plays she saw there. But as she walked through their halls, she felt a disconnect.

There were few artworks by Black Americans like her in the works on display.

“They didn’t show my experiences or the experiences of so many other communities,” said Autry. “That has to change.”

Today she is on the front lines of a movement calling on museums to better represent communities and artists of color.

“What museums call ‘neutral’ is all part of a status quo system,” said Autry, a curatorial fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland who helped start an initiative called Museums Are Not Neutral. “And that system perpetuates oppression, racism, injustice and colonialism.”

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