About Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) at moCa

March 2021

The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa) has served this city and its surrounding communities for 52 years. Supporting artists and serving communities ground this museum, which has been entrusted to uplift and advance the inspiration, curiosity, creativity, and thought leadership of contemporary art. For years, countless artists, staff, board, donors, and community members have striven to make moCa a welcoming, supportive, inclusive organization, with myriad examples of growth and success. Events have revealed, however, that the museum continues to fall short of realizing the values of equity that create an authentic space for all to belong. 

As we lean into 2021, moCa is looking back and looking ahead. This includes acknowledging that white privilege, systemic and structural racism, and bias have influenced moCa’s cultural and operational norms and impacted artists and audiences, particularly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We are taking responsibility to undo those negative influences. moCa also is pushing into alternate ways of working and being together that can help collectively shape a new future. In focusing on the work of healing, repair, and transformation, moCa seeks to address and eliminate exclusionary and harmful practices and move forward in just collaboration with artists and community. 

Some of the things that have happened so far include: 
  • Engaging the strategic change consulting firm PPICW to guide moCa’s process and help chart a path to a responsible culture that foregrounds diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility (DEIA), and anti-racism 
  • Forming a joint staff and board steering committee to lead this work across every aspect of moCa’s culture 
  • Shifting and centering moCa’s internal conversations and external engagement on broadening collaboration and input, sharing power, and creating space and opportunities to elevate diverse, historically marginalized voices and practices 
  • Developing new initiatives such as the Education and Engagement Committee, artist residency programs, and regional curatorial partnerships in an effort to expand equitable access to, and influence on, moCa’s program and culture. These build upon moCa’s pre-existing Open House initiatives designed to enhance diversity and inclusion through engagement, staffing, and communications 
Some of the things that lie just ahead are: 
  • Finalizing and sharing moCa’s specific short- and mid-term DEIA goals, commitments, and benchmarks with the community 
  • Continuing to revise and update policies and procedures in areas such as HR, governance, and communications that help to mitigate bias, expand access, and center equity in its operations 
  • Increasing the representation of marginalized groups in all facets of the museum, particularly in areas of leadership and content creation 

Across the Board of Directors, the staff, and all who play a role in this creative community, moCa is committed to change; to root out oppressive biases and behaviors, and to work in step with the heartbeat of Cleveland. It is only through the support of artists and audiences that moCa exists. This community is our primary point of accountability and moCa’s focus as it works to rebuild trust and walk out the concept of equity day by day. 

We welcome your feedback. Please reach out to community@mocacleveland.org

DEIA Steering Committee Members:

Arlester Tate-El (Security Coordinator), Amy Cronauer (Interim Director of Development), Audra T. Jones (Board Member), Dick Cahoon (Board Member), Larry Oscar (Board President), Megan Lykins Reich (Interim Executive Director), Sheila Brown (Accounting Manager)