Beyond the Rhetoric and Toward Real Change

November 10, 2008 - 8:00am to 2:45pm

Claudia Cassidy Theatre
Chicago Cultural Center
78 East Washington Street

Read the keynote address (PDF) and symposium summary (PDF).

This conference was made possible with generous support from the Smart Family Foundation and the Irving Harris Foundation.

About the Symposium



About the Symposium

This forum for Chicago-area cultural leaders will examine implicit and explicit assumptions and expectations about the issue of diversity in order to formulate workable strategies for moving forward.

Within the universe of cultural organizations in the U.S., the subject of ethnic, racial, generational and socio-economic 'diversity' remains a confusing, frustrating, and sometimes contentious topic. Misunderstandings and disagreements about diversity are especially common in conversations about how governing boards and staff are selected and how they work together, how audiences are served, and how choices about art programming are made. Although the word itself has become a commonplace in the arts, honest discussion about diversity presents opportunities for creating unrealistic expectations and for giving or taking offense.

This forum is designed to help us move beyond the platitudes and the unspoken tensions toward strategic progress. It is aimed at: staffers and leaders at Chicago-area cultural organizations where diversity is intrinsically connected to the mission; their colleagues at organizations that have just begun to examine their mission with an eye to diversity; and everyone everywhere in between. Our goal is to explore the numerous definitions of (and assumptions about) diversity among cultural leaders and organizations in an attempt to articulate collective goals in this area and plausible strategies for achieving them in a variety of institutions. 

Our conversation will be informed by the case studies and analysis in Diane Grams and Betty Farrell's Entering Cultural Communities: Diversity and Change in the Nonprofit Arts (Rutgers University Press, 2008), which was developed at the Cultural Policy Center. The study chronicles how a wide range of arts organizations are building relationships with increasingly diverse audiences. Books are available for purchase in advance from Rutgers University Press and


8:00-8:30 AM Registration & Breakfast
8:30-8:45 AM

Welcome & Introductions

D. Carroll Joynes, Co-Director of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago

Andrew Taylor, Director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration, University of Wisconsin

8:45-9:15 AM

Keynote Address

Some Thoughts from a Museum Veteran (PDF)

Peter Marzio, Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

9:15-9:45 AM

Thoughts and Responses

Andrew Taylor, facilitator

9:45-10:00 AM Morning Pause
10:00-11:00 AM

Panel Discussion

What's Really Going on Here?

Andrew Taylor, facilitator

Introduction from Diane Grams, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Tulane University and Betty Farrell, Associate Director, Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences, University of Chicago.

Michelle T. Boone, Culture Program Officer for the Joyce Foundation, Chicago

Ken Warren, Deputy Provost for Research & Minority Issues, University of Chicago

Sarah Schultz, Director of Education and Community Programs at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Carlos Tortolero, Founder and President of the National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago

11:00-11:30 AM

Thoughts and Responses

Andrew Taylor, facilitator

11:30-12:30 PM Summation of Morning Session
11:45-12:30 PM Lunch
12:30-1:30 PM Afternoon Breakout Sessions
1:30-2:00 PM Session Reports
2:00-2:30 PM

Observations and Summation

Andrew Taylor, facilitator

2:30-2:45 PM

Conclusion and Thanks

D. Carroll Joynes, Co-Director of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago


Michelle T. Boone is the Culture Program Officer for the Joyce Foundation in Chicago. She is responsible for distributing nearly $2 million annually to arts and cultural institutions in Chicago as well as managing the Joyce Awards program, a competitive grant opportunity that supports arts and culture groups in the Midwest and commissions new works by artists of color. Ms. Boone was previously the director cof Gallery 37, an award-winning program of the city of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs that provided job-training in the arts for youth. She began her career working in television, film, and the recording industry, and later served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chad. In addition to her duties at the Joyce Foundation, Ms. Boone is an adjunct professor at DePaul University and serves on the boards and advisory committees of several arts and cultural organizations in Chicago. She holds a bachelor's degree in Telecommunications and a master's degree in Public Affairs (nonprofit management major) from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Betty Farrell (Ph.D. sociology, Harvard University) is the associate director of the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences and a senior lecturer in the Graduate Social Science Division at the University of Chicago. Her work in historical sociology has focused on the sociology of culture, public policy, U.S. family patterns, and gender studies. She co-edited with Diane Grams, Entering Cultural Communities: Diversity and Change in the Nonprofit Arts (Rutgers University Press, 2008); she is also the author of Family: The Making of an Idea, an Institution, and a Controversy in American Culture (Westview, 1999) and Elite Families: Class and Power in Nineteenth-Century Boston (State University of New York Press, 1993). Her current research project, "Cultural Pluralism in the Chicago Art World," has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and investigates questions of access, diversity, and inclusivity across a range of Chicago's established and community-based cultural institutions.

Diane Grams (Ph.D. sociology, Loyola University Chicago) is an assistant professor of sociology at Tulane University in New Orleans. She teaches sociology of culture, research methods, and an intensive community seminar while continuing to pursue her research agenda in urban culture. Prior to her appointment at Tulane she was a researcher and associate director of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago, where she taught graduate courses in cultural policy and research methods at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies. Among her publications are: Entering Cultural Communities: Diversity and Change in the Nonprofit Arts (Rutgers University Press, 2008);Producing Local Color: Ethnic Art Networks in Chicago (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press), a study of arts producers in three Chicago communities, Bronzeville, Pilsen and Rogers Park; "Executive Compensation in the Nonprofit Arts," a study commissioned by the Illinois Arts Alliance Foundation;"Leveraging Assets: How Small Budget Arts Activities Benefit Neighborhoods,"a 2003 report funded by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; "ArtsAlive: The 2001 Report on the State of Arts Education in Michigan" for Art Serve Michigan and the Michigan Board of Education. She was awarded a Schmitt Fellowship in 2002 and given the 1989 Civil Liberties Award from the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the American Civil Liberties Union of Chicago for her work in support of artistic expression. She was the executive director of The Peace Museum, Chicago, from 1992 to 1998.

D. Carroll Joynes is Co-director and Co-founder of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. in European History at the University in 1981, taught at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York and at New York University, and then returned to the University of Chicago as Associate Dean of the Humanities in 1994. In addition to overseeing the development of the Center since its inception, he served on the research team that recently produced a comprehensive map of minority participation in Chicago cultural institutions, and contributed to Entering Cultural Communities: Diversity and Change in Nonprofit Arts (Rutgers University Press, 2008). He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Newberry Library.

Peter Marzio has served as director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston(MFAH) since 1982. During his 26-year tenure, attendance at the museum has increased from 300,000 to 1.6 million, membership from 7,000 to more than 40,000, the operating budget from $5 million to $52 million, the endowment from $25 million to $1.1 billion, and the permanent collection from 20,000 works of art to 57,000. Marzio is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, of which he served as president from 1988 to 1989. He has been appointed to many advisory boards and committees. From 1997 to 2000, Marzio served as chairman of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities. He also is a board member of the Wallace Foundation (New York). From 1978 to 1982, Marzio was Director and C.E.O. of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Prior to his tenure at the Corcoran, he served as Curator of Prints and Chairman of the Department of Cultural History at the Smithsonian Institution (1969-78). Dr. Marzio was the editor and an author for the Smithsonian Institution's Bicentennial book A Nation of Nations (Harper and Row, 1976). And his Art Crusade (The Smithsonian Institution, 1976) and The Democratic Art (David Godine, 1979) remain the standard works on the history of drawing and lithography in America. Peter Marzio was born on Governor's Island, New York City. He earned a B.A. from Juniata College (Huntingdon, PA) in 1965 and subsequently graduated from the University of Chicago with an M.A. and a Ph.D. in 1966 and 1969, respectively. He served as research assistant to Daniel J. Boorstin (1966-1971) working on The Americans: The Democratic Experience, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. He has been awarded numerous scholarships and academic prizes, including a Senior Fulbright Research Fellowship to Rome in 1973-74.

Andrew Taylor is Director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration, an MBA degree program and research center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business. An author, lecturer, and researcher on a broad range of arts management issues, Andrew has also served as a consultant to arts organizations and cultural initiatives throughout the U.S. and Canada, including the International Society for the Performing Arts, American Ballet Theatre, the Center for Arts and Culture, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. Closer to home, he helped develop the budget pro forma and operating plan for the $205-million Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wisconsin. Andrew is currently the president of the Association of Arts Administration Educators (, an international association of degree-granting programs in arts and cultural management, research, and policy, and is a consulting editor for “The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society”. Since July 2003, he has written a popular weblog on the business of arts and culture, The Artful Manager, hosted

Sarah Schultz has been Director of Education and Community Programs at the Walker Art Center since 2000, following three years as Associate Director of Public and Teen Programs. For more than eighteen years, she has been involved in the Walker's efforts to deepen the institution's community relationships and create innovative programs to engage visitors with contemporary artists and art forms. She was part of an experience planning team for the Walker Art Center expansion documented in the book Expanding the Center: Walker Art Center and Herzog & de Meuron. Schultz received a B.A. in Art History from Bucknell University, an M.B.A. in Arts Administration from the State University of New York at Binghamton and an M.A. in Art History and American Studies from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining the Walker she worked for the Children's Theatre Company, American Ballet Theatre, and the Australian Opera.

Carlos Tortolero is the founder and president of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. The Museum has become a national model for its exhibits, performances, arts education programs, advocacy of cultural equity issues, and as a model for how museums need to change in today's society. Tortolero has become one of the nation's leading critics of the failure of large museums to serve diverse communities and the need for these museums to return cultural treasures to their respective countries. The National Museum of Mexican Art is also the only Latino museum accredited by the American Association of Museums. Sixteen exhibits organized by the Museum have traveled across the U.S., of which seven have also traveled to Mexico. The Museum is touring its landmark exhibition, The African Presence in Mexico to eleven sites. This exhibition will be traveling to museums across the U.S. and to Mexico. The Museum also organizes the annual festival Sor Juana de la Cruz festival. The festival is also held in Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas, and will expand to New York in 2009. The Museum has won numerous awards including the Institute of Museum Services' National Museum Award. The Museum also has two nationally recognized youth initiatives, Radio Arte WRTE-FM 90.5 FM, the only Latino owned urban public radio station in the country, and the Yollocalli Youth Arts Reach, a program that provides arts training for youth. From 1975 to 1987, Tortolero worked as a teacher, counselor, and administrator in the Chicago Public School System. Tortolero was the recipient of the 2008 Illinois Public Humanities Award given by the Illinois Humanities Council.

Ken Warren teaches in the Department of English at the University of Chicago where he is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor. Before coming to Chicago he taught in the English Department at Northwestern University. He is the author of So Black and Blue: Ralph Ellison and the Occasion of Criticism (University of Chicago Press, 2003), Black and White Strangers: Race and American Literary Realism (University of Chicago Press, 1993), and articles on a variety of writers including, W.E.B. Du Bois, William Dean Howells, James Weldon Johnson, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. He is currently Deputy Provost for Research and Minority Issues at the University of Chicago.

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