Dear Fralin Community,
The Fralin Museum of Art joins the worldwide condemnation of the violent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many others, and acknowledges the fear, trauma, and mistrust the Black community is forced to live with because of generational and pervasive, systemic, racist violence. We stand with our colleagues at UVA in denouncing racism in all its pernicious forms, affirming our solidarity with the Black community, all people of color, Indigenous communities, and in unequivocally stating that Black Lives Matter.
We have taken time as a museum to listen and learn before speaking, acknowledging that museums, from the beginning, have been and currently are part of the societal structures that create and propagate racial inequality. We acknowledge The Fralin, as a museum of The University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, must actively address our role in the complicated, painful, histories of place.
In the last days, we have once again been overwhelmed by the brilliance and strength, in the midst of great pain, that our students have demonstrated. It is clear that they demand action on the part of their institutions. Below we offer a first set of actionable steps The Fralin will take toward ensuring that we serve the needs of students of color and all underrepresented communities. We are committed to be a safe and useful space for meaningful dialogue and action in the creation of a just society.
Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, reminds us, “History is a guide to a better future and demonstrates that we can become a better society—but only if we collectively demand it from each other and from the institutions responsible for administering justice.”
As a comprehensive art museum, with collections spanning world cultures, The Fralin is in a unique position within the University and our community to activate the powerful lessons that art provides to guide us to the better future we must all demand. We look forward to partnering with you in this vital work.
Matthew McLendon, PhD
J. Sanford Miller Family Director
• We reaffirm our commitment from September that at least half of our exhibitions will focus on underrepresented art and artists ensuring greater, more diverse visibility in our galleries.
• We commit to strengthening ties with Black student organizations and the other student organizations that represent underserved, minority, Indigenous, and at-risk populations. We are committed to listening and learning from them so that The Fralin is a safe and useful space.
• We commit to continuing with greater frequency comprehensive, mandatory staff training on issues of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility, including safe space trainings.
• We commit to continuing our productive relationship with the Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights and we look forward to working with President Ryan’s new Racial Equity Task Force ensuring that the work we do at the museum is in service to equity, inclusion, and racial justice.
• We commit to including in conversation diverse communities across Charlottesville as we develop new programming and exhibitions.
We encourage you to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s new online resource Talking About Race.
The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia encourages the spirit of curiosity and promotes diversity of thought through the study, care, and celebration of art.
Learning: Curiosity is important to us.
Empathy: Understanding is important to us.
Diversity: Communities are important to us.
Respect: Civil discourse is important to us.
Stewardship: Protecting The Fralin’s collection for future generations is important to us.