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Sun Apr 11, 2021, 10:08 AM

Wadsworth Atheneum to shed its stodgy image; connect with Black and Latinx communities in Hartford

Wadsworth Atheneum parts ways with its leader amid an effort to shed its stodgy image and connect with Black and Latinx communities in Hartford

”A lot of people were surprised by the oldness of everything, that there really wasn’t much that would grab you or engage you and say ‘oh wow.’ It looked like an old museum that hadn’t changed in decades,” William R. Peelle Jr., chairman of the board of trustees said. “It wasn’t an engaging and wonderful experience. In 40 galleries, with 60,000 square feet of art, there was a general malaise or lack of robust enthusiasm.”

”It kind of looks like a medieval castle,” he said. “There is a metaphorical moat there that people may perceive as a barrier to having entrée and access to the museum. They need to fill in the moat. People need to feel comfortable with their museum. That comes with programming, connecting with Latinx and African American communities.”

”You’ve got all of these children in middle school and high school who don’t have access to art and art history and the wonders of the world as they are expressed through artistic expression of people all over the world, including places they come from, Africa, the islands, that are rich in artistic traditions, but they haven’t really seen it expressed in the Wadsworth or in other museums,” Dr. Elsa Núñez, vice president for state universities in the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system said.

In August 2016, Wadsworth Atheneum CEO Thomas Loughman instituted the “Wadsworth Welcome” initiative, which gave free admission to Hartford residents. Upon announcing the initiative, Loughman touted diversity and inclusion, as well as the wealth gap in the city and suburbs. instituted the “Wadsworth Welcome” initiative, which gave free admission to Hartford residents. Upon announcing the initiative, Loughman touted diversity and inclusion, as well as the wealth gap in the city and suburbs.

https://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-news-prem-hartford-wadsworth-atheneum-diversity-inclusion-20210409-hfcla2f44zeinpjp6e3xwrv7xq-story.html

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