The South Side of Chicago has been and continues to be defined by the visionary work of Black artists, educators, scholars, activists, and others; a powerful legacy of celebrating Black identity and actively working against those who seek to extinguish it. At the Smart Museum of Art, we recognize that we have a responsibility, especially in being here, to stand in solidarity with movements that stand with Black lives—George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade—but we must do more. We must be an agent in supporting our community and in dismantling exclusionary and oppressive systems. We pledge to reflect on, question and shift our own practice—in our programs as well as in our operations—to build on these values through action.
As an art museum, on a university campus, the Smart believes that art creates and expresses meaning in our lives; through it we not only see the world, but also imagine it anew. We affirm our commitment to becoming a museum that engages the most critical issues of our time, of our place—an institution that listens to and acts on behalf of our community and staff; an institution that stands against the injustice and violence of systemic racism.