The painters and sculptors of today cannot remain indifferent in the struggle to free humanity and art from oppression. –David Alfaro Siqueiros
In 1933, Mexican painter David Siqueiros, whose work is represented in the Monterey Museum of Art’s permanent collection, called on artists around the world to step forward to “free humanity and art from oppression.” Joining Siqueiros over many decades of activism are celebrated artists of our collection including Henrietta Shore, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Eduardo Carillo, Amalia Mesa Bains, Jerry Takigawa and many, many more for whom art is both the medium and message to advance democratic rights for all people.
In 2020, artists across the United States led by California artists such as Patrisse Cullors demanded that arts institutions address long-standing inequities around collecting the art of, exhibiting the art of, and the hiring of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other people of color. Their demands echoed calls for greater representation of Women and LGBTQ+ artists at arts institutions.
Public and private organizations such as the Mellon and Ford Foundations and California Arts Council joined the call for change in museums, as did many staff and board members. Following these calls, leaders of museums, galleries, and university programs committed to making major changes in the way they did business. The American Alliance of Museums (our accrediting body) defines the work this way:
Equity is the fair and just treatment of all members of a community. Equity requires commitment to strategic priorities, resources, respect, and civility, as well as ongoing action and assessment of progress toward achieving specified goals.
Diversity is all the ways that people are different and the same at the individual and group levels. Even when people appear the same, they are different. Organizational diversity requires examining and questioning the makeup of a group to ensure that multiple perspectives are represented.
Inclusion refers to the intentional, ongoing effort to ensure that diverse individuals fully participate in all aspects of organizational work, including decision-making processes. It also refers to the ways that diverse participants are valued as respected members of an organization and/or community.
Belonging is the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for an individual that is involved with or a member of a group. It is an important human need that cultivates value and positive outcomes.
While Monterey Museum of Art has worked to advance change in the past, it has deepened its commitment and will be more transparent and accountable about its efforts. MMA exists to “celebrate the diversity of California art—past, present, and future.” We are a place of belonging and want artists and visitors to be able to “see themselves” in the Museum. We are broadening understanding and contributing to a better world by providing a platform for self-expression and open dialogue. Although a private institution, MMA has a public duty to equitably serve its stakeholders as well as the artists it presents.
MMA recognizes and is addressing the ways that its efforts have fallen short in the eyes of many artists and community members who have been neglected by our programming in previous decades. While we are a small museum with limited resources, it is imperative that we use our platform to advance our mission with the diversity of California in mind.
In support of the sustained call for institutional change by our field, Monterey Museum of Art recognizes that for many decades, alongside the majority of American arts institutions, it focused on and favored dominantly white and male artists in its exhibitions and collections, and largely neglected to exhibit and collect the art of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other People of Color, and Women and LGTBQ+ artists who participated in creating California’s rich tapestry of art. The Museum also acknowledges that this created visibility and opportunity in a way that advantaged white and male artists and disadvantaged Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other People of Color, and Women and LGBTQ+ artists.
MMA embraces its responsibility to serve artists and communities in a way that accountably addresses its past omissions and promotes equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB).
The Museum will demonstrate its commitment through the following:
- Making equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging central to the Museum’s strategic plan.
- Planning our annual exhibitions, public programming, and collection activities to ensure that MMA addresses omissions and promotes inclusive and representative curation and collecting.
- Hiring and recruiting of staff, board members, and volunteers to advance greater presence and participation of under-represented voices and people.
- Inviting under-represented artists, community groups, and interested community members to share their concerns with the board and staff.
- Providing EDIB training for all staff and board on an annual basis.
- Engaging staff to help determine how to be an inclusive and respectful work environment.
- Publishing the results of its EDIB efforts in its annual report.
Through these efforts, MMA is becoming a place of true belonging and fulfilling its mission to celebrate the diversity of California art—past, present, and future.
A core part of its mission, the Monterey Museum of Art (MMA) is dedicated to engaging community with the diversity of California art—past, present, and future. MMA holds itself to the highest standards for presenting exhibitions, including but not limited to, accurately representing the artists and their stories, curatorial research and writing, and the physical display of art. The Museum investigates and considers the context for all elements of its exhibitions and programs, without sacrificing the freedom of expression of the artists and the curators. The Museum understands that our visitors are diverse as well, and therefore, a visitor may find that some visual or written content may not be in alignment with their own personal beliefs or experiences. MMA welcomes all, and through its exhibitions and programs, it is the Museums’ intention to be a facilitator of constructive dialogue in order to expand cultural awareness and foster belonging.
With this in mind, MMA has chosen to support the curator and artists of Shadows from the Past: Sansei Artists and the American Concentration Camps in their use of the term “concentration camp” as it relates to the artworks and stories they are presenting. The Museum has investigated the definition of the term “concentration camp” and similar terms, and has found that “concentration camp” is an accurate term in reference to the Japanese American experience as a result of Executive Order 9066. Nationally regarded institutions such as the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the Japanese American National Museum, and Densho.org, recognize that the War Relocation Authority originally referred to the camps by other terms. These institutions also recognize the call to action by the Japanese American Community over many years to use terminology that more accurately reflects the Japanese American experience in the camps, and thus the shift to using the term “concentration camp” to reference what were once called “relocation” or “internment” camps.
More information can be found at:
MMA has updated some of its COVID safety policies and added new ones to keep visitors and staff safe.
- Wearing a face mask is required by everyone age 2 and older. Disposable masks will be provided if you forget your mask. If you are unable to wear a mask due to medical issues, you will be required to wear a face shield. Unfortunately, if you are not able to wear a mask or face shield (in the instance of a medical issue), you will not be able to enter the Museum.
- Advanced reservations are strongly encouraged for all visitors and are required for groups of 5 or more.
- If you plan to visit in a group of 10 or more, please contact [email protected] for a private or group reservation.
- We require that you follow other state guidelines, including not entering the building if feeling ill.
All of these protocols are subject to modification due to the constantly evolving COVID-19 pandemic situation. Monterey Museum of Art will be following all updated protocols, and monitoring California and CDC guidance.
Events and Rentals
- With the easing of restrictions, MMA is operating with a hybrid approach to programming—with some of our events offered in-person and some offered online. See individual event listings for specific details.
- The Museum is available for rental events, but event hosts must abide by all Museum guidelines, including: reduced occupancy with guest list provided at least one week in advance, only prepackaged or individually portioned catering, storing names and contact info for tracing, mask wearing both indoors and outside, etc.
- The Museum reserves the right to require vaccination status for all event and rental guests.
- Rental agreements will include the cost of cleaning and sanitizing the facility.
- Professional cleaning services sanitize the facility regularly. Facilities Management maintains an updated list of all areas they clean throughout the day.
- Museum staff will assist with additional cleaning of high touch surfaces.
- The restrooms are cleaned twice a day.
- The Information Desk will be disinfected with every shift change of staff.
- Door handles will be disinfected each evening upon closing.
- Museum staff can help disinfect any surfaces you feel need attention.
Other Safety Procedures
- Several air purifiers and 4 hand-sanitizing stations have been placed throughout the Museum.
- Over the past few months, essential Museum staff have deep cleaned the Museum, including all surfaces, floors, and cabinetry.
- There is signage to promote social distancing, to inform visitors about new guidelines and protocols, and to direct visitors to hand-sanitizing stations.
- All interactive elements, flip books with exhibit information, and reusable educational materials have been removed to reduce the number of “touch surfaces.”
- Only single use materials will be provided to visitors.
- Tour groups will be limited to numbers that allow for social distancing within the galleries.