Month: October 2021

Changes to the Art Institute of Chicago’s docent program are sparking debate over racial equity and culture

A bicyclist stands in front of the entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago, staring at one of the statues of the famous Llons.

The Art Institute of Chicago is getting backlash for changing its docent program. Jonathan Daniel /Getty Images

  • The Art Institute of Chicago is getting backlash for changing its docent program.

  • Conservative critics say the change is giving into ‘woke’ culture and harming mostly white docents.

  • Yet museum studies experts say paying docents, as the museum plans to do, makes the field equitable.

The Art Institute of Chicago is getting backlash for what conservative critics are saying is giving into ‘woke’ culture. But changing its docent program could make museums more equitable for people of color.

At the heart of the controversy is its planned switch from a volunteer docent program to a “hybrid model that pairs paid educators and volunteers,” leading critics to accuse the institution of disenfranchising the mostly white volunteers who’ve been working at the museum for years.

Headlines like, “White volunteers at Art Institute are FIRED after

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Monroe artist among first annual City of Detroit arts and culture honorees

"Land of the Lotus Eaters" was a more famous painting by Robert Duncanson.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan commemorated International Artist Day this week with an announcement of the inaugural Detroit ACE Honors, which salute achievement by artists and arts patrons who have contributed more than 25 years of service to the Detroit arts and culture scene.

Monroe artist Robert S. Duncanson made the list.

A ceremony, to be held in January, will present each honoree with a Detroit ACE medal of excellence. The event will also unveil the members of the Detroit Council of the Arts, who will choose recipients in subsequent years.

The first Detroit ACE Medal recipients, announced Monday, are:

  • Robert S. Duncanson, a prolific painter known for sweeping, large-scale landscapes. He established a studio in Detroit in 1849, where he would become the most accomplished African American painter of the 1850s and 1860s. A collection of Duncanson’s work hangs in the Detroit Institute of Arts. He is considered to be
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Vintage Artwork Panoramic Photographs, Posters, Images, Wall Art, Framed Prints & More

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