Statement on Black Lives Matter

The Program of Studio Art stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We condemn systematic racism and acknowledge our participation in this system. We assert unequivocally that Black Lives Matter. We are committed to taking anti-racist actions in our community, and supporting the ongoing nation-wide protests against police violence and systemic racism in the United States.

We are guided in our endeavor by the words of Toni Morrison, who wrote in 2015 about the role of artists in times of struggle:

This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. 

As artists and educators at Middlebury College, we recognize that making, studying, and teaching visual art are all ways to “do language.” Art contains ideas, stories, and histories. It has the power to awaken awareness, embody criticism, change narratives, and promote healing. We feel the responsibility of the power of art in this struggle for racial equity, and in the larger work of dismantling white supremacy and centering and uplifting Black communities. We are committed to doing this work by creating more inclusive and diverse classrooms, and by addressing racism as it relates to our discipline.

We pledge to make the following anti-racist actions:

  • All faculty and staff commit to annual and ongoing Implicit Bias, Equity, and Diversity training.
  • We will intentionally and actively recruit BIPOC faculty.
  • We will examine and revise all syllabi with the intention of addressing biases and exclusions in our discipline.
  • We will ensure that our visiting artist lectures series reflects these changes by amplifying the voices of Black artists.
  • We will create a database of resources directing our students to initiatives that support Black artists and causes.
  • As a program, we pledge to incorporate into our curriculum more materials that address Black experiences in the arts.
  • We acknowledge that these steps are a step in a process, and we expect that our role as anti-racist professors will continue to evolve.