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A Message for Our Community from the Directors of Crystal Bridges and the Momentary

Friends and Colleagues of the NWA Community and Beyond –

At Crystal Bridges and the Momentary, we value diversity, creativity, education, innovation, and art discovery. We listen actively, speak honestly, and welcome all. We believe in the power of art to transform individuals and communities.

Today, our communities are struggling. In the midst of grappling with the fear and anxiety of a global pandemic, it is also clear that our work to eradicate racism and injustice in our country requires long-term systemic change.

We express our deepest condolences to the families and communities of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, and to the many black men and women preceding them whose deaths were unjustifiable, prejudiced, and simply wrong.

We can’t naively think that the same prejudices and privileges currently shining a spotlight on Minneapolis, Atlanta, and other areas don’t exist here in Northwest Arkansas. It is unacceptable to stand idle and wait for change. We must be vigilant in standing against racism, injustice, and discrimination. We are all responsible for creating change.

At Crystal Bridges and the Momentary, we are committed to creating meaningful efforts to change. Black Lives Matter. Black art matters, too. We stand in solidarity with Black artists, activists, leaders, staff, volunteers, and community members who are already leading the way on making change possible, and our institutions support them.

We practice a zero-tolerance policy for racism and discrimination, both from our staff and our guests. We will also continue offering art as a platform for conversations about race, American history, and current events, such as in the impactful exhibitions Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal… at Crystal Bridges, and Nick Cave: Until, coming soon to the Momentary.

Crystal Bridges and the Momentary are not treasure boxes, but tool boxes that can be used to activate community change. They are active places for dialogue about difficult subjects, both in the physical space and online. Internally, we have been and will continue to work on implementing training and education on race for all staff members in partnership with our IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility) Committee and Black Staff Resource Group. Externally, we have been and will continue to work on offering programs and events that spark conversations about art, equity, and justice.

With the words of acclaimed artist Hank Willis Thomas: “the most revolutionary thing a person can do is be open to change.” We hope that you will join us in the continued effort to eradicate racism and discrimination, keeping an open mind to change and new ideas. Let’s move forward together.

Here are a few resources that we have found helpful to continue this conversation:

 

Sincerely,

Rod and Lieven

Rod Bigelow
Executive Director and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Lieven Bertels
Director
The Momentary