Saturday 20th January 2018,

Asian Americans

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Museums & Cultural Institutions Lacking in Staff Diversity

posted by Randall
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

By Ernabel Demillo
Host @AsianAmericanLife

New York has some of the most diverse cultural institutions in the world, from high profile museums to smaller neighborhood community groups. It seems like the city has something for everyone. But behind closed doors, it is a different story.

A recent study found that the workforce inside some of New York’s most prestigious arts institutions – staff members, curators, directors, board members – don’t reflect the communities they serve.

“I think we have gotten far too accustomed to walking into a museum and not seeing diversity,” said Candice Anderson, executive director of Cool Culture, a non-profit arts organization, which offers low-income families access to museums and other arts institutions.

The study, commissioned by New York’s Department of Cultural Affairs, was conducted in an effort to “promote equity in the cultural workforce.” The results, released last year, found the staff at city funded non-profit cultural organizations is more than 60 percent White. Whites make up 33% of New York City’s population, meanwhile Blacks, Hispanics and Asians make up 67 percent, according to the latest census data.

When you look at leadership roles, the numbers change dramatically. Whites hold close to 80 percent of leadership roles at museums. Meanwhile, most of the jobs held by people of color are in the security and retail sector.

So what is keeping minority groups – Blacks, Latinos and Asians from these positions? Some say low salaries for entry level jobs may be one reason. In the Asian American Pacific Islander community there is also another reason.

For more on this story watch this month’s Asian American Life, a production of CUNY-TV.

And check out this month’s complete show featuring:

Paul Lin reports on one of the most popular transportation lifestyle trends, cycling with bamboo bikes. He interviews the founder of Bambike, an Asian American who returned back to Manila to start a business building bamboo bikes. It’s so popular even President Obama and other world leaders have one!

Kyung Yoon interviews actress Ann Sanders who created a buzz on Broadway for stepping in the lead role of Anna in “The King And I.”

Korean Pop, also known as K-pop has made its way from Seoul to New York, thanks to pop star Psy’s “Gangman Style” billboard hit. Now it’s all the rage here in New York and in other cities worldwide.

Ernabel Demillo is the host of Asian American Life, a monthly half hour series about the fastest-growing immigrant group in the country, focusing on Asian Americans in the tri-state area from over 40 countries who speak more than 150 different languages and dialects.

Every month, an Asian enclave and neighborhood within the tristate area is featured. Cutting edge issues like racial profiling and stereotyping are examined and explored. Successful Asian Americans who are forging new identities in business, politics and the arts are also be profiled. Asian American Life is reaching new frontiers in the quest for understanding and acknowledgment among tri-state Asian Americans.
AsAmNews is an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. You can show your support by liking our Facebook page at, following us on Twitter, sharing our stories, interning or joining our staff.

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