Free Membership. Antiracism

This month I came across two items I thought you might find interesting. First up is an op-ed on the importance of reducing barriers to access by doing away with charging for museum memberships. The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University also has free admission. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t include any information about ICA’s financial status. Nor could I find a listing for ICA on GuideStar or Charity Navigator. I assume they are part of VCU and are not a separate 501(c)(3). Regardless, a conversation about the cost of free is usually worthwhile.

The second item is a new book that tackles strategies educators can use to create antiracist environments. It just arrived, and so I haven’t had time to explore the book fully. However, a quick read of the beginnings of most of the chapters indicates this book should be an excellent addition to the literature. Chapter 6, “Embracing the discomfort of race talk,” seems to deliver on the book’s practical guide promise. This resource could prove helpful for arts managers trying to institute equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives at their organization.

Hopefully, I will have some examples to share with you next month on how arts organizations are successfully reopening as the vaccine rollout continues.

Thanks for subscribing to these posts and have a great spring.

Bill Byrnes


The Public Shouldn’t Have to Pay to Be Members of Museums. That’s Why We’re Abolishing the Fees at Our Institution

The director of the ICA at VCU explains why pay-for-play museum membership should become a thing of the past.

Op-Ed – Dominic Asmall Willsdon, April 21, 2021, ArtNet News

It is not enough for museums merely to adapt to survive; in order to be true proponents of an inclusive, democratic culture, museums must make fundamental changes to structures that have long been taken for granted as standard practice. This can apply to something as (seemingly) simple as museum membership.

Link to the original post:


Becoming a White Antiracist – A Practical Guide for Educators, Leaders, and Activists

By Stephen D. Brookfield, Ph.D.

and Mary E. Hess, Ph.D.

From the back cover:
In this book the authors explore what it means for whites to move from becoming aware of the extent of their unwitting collusion in racism towards developing a committed anti-racist white identity. The book will be useful to anyone trying to create conversations around race, teach about white supremacy, arrange workshops on racism, and help colleagues explore how to create an antiracist culture or environment.”

Ordering information: