The Baltimore Museum of Art is taking steps to diversify their permanent collection with their newest announcement that they will only purchase artworks made by woman in 2020. Currently the museums permanent collection totals around 95,000 pieces with only 4% represented by women artist.
Museum Director Christopher Bedford said that every artwork the BMA purchases for its permanent collection next year — every painting, every sculpture, every ceramic figurine — will have been created by a woman.
In addition each in the 22 exhibits scheduled for the year will have a female focus. Nineteen of the twenty-two will showcase artworks exclusively by women and will include works by at least one transgender woman, Zackary Drucker, a Los Angeles-based artist.
But some have criticized the BMA‘s move including local arts magazine Bmore Art, a magazine devoted to the Arts & Culture in Baltimore. In a November issue of the magazine, editor-in-chief Cara Ober and managing editor Rebekah Kirkman described the announcement as “headline friendly.” Then followed by saying ,"These feel-good messages of equity and progress don’t always align with reality. And institutional change is slow; a cursory look at the statistics reveals we are not doing much better in 2019 than we were in 2009, and quite possibly worse."
Even though some scrutinized the decision as being convenient in an era of Woman Empowerment and Equality; others have been supportive of the announcement, stating this is a great and exciting move. Christopher Bedford, the museum’s director since 2016, described the initiative as a proactive effort to address a root problem for the art world. “To rectify centuries of imbalance, you have to do something radical,” he told The Baltimore Sun.
Regardless of your stance on this decision by the Baltimore Museum of Art, it is important to understand that no one decision will ever erase the wrong doing, the discrimination, or the inequality that people have faced throughout history. But decisions like this are necessary to spark conversations and continue the mission to make this planet more balanced and it's people more equal.