Statement of Solidarity

A Message from Our Director & Board President

Black lives matter, now and always.

BOSTON, June 2, 2020

Dear Gardner Museum Community,

We write today with profound sadness and frustration in our hearts at the violence and longstanding injustices against Black and Brown communities, and at the horrifying recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others. We send our condolences to the families of those who have been lost, and we stand in solidarity with our neighbors and all those who live in fear of the societal structures that perpetuate hate and harm.

Black lives matter, now and always. This too-common cycle of violence and grief reminds us of the work we must always do to recognize and actively fight against systemic racism. 

As an art museum, we are committed to giving voice to individual and collective creative expression, both past and present. It is our mission to make the Gardner a cultural home for all of Boston, furthering inclusive values and complex, sometimes uncomfortable dialogue through programs and partnerships. We acknowledge that the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is at the beginning of its journey, and we remain fully committed to listening, growing, and holding ourselves accountable.

We also remain committed to collaborating with artists, performers, and leaders whose perspectives are not always heard and seen in established historical institutions like ours. Artists have long been leaders in surfacing and responding to injustice, and art and culture help shape our understanding of the world. Our museum, like others, therefore has the opportunity to help catalyze change. Each of us individually has a responsibility to do so as well. This is a critical moment, and through the hard and necessary work that needs to be done, we all play a role in building a better world.

We’ve been honored by a continuing engagement with the enormous talent of Black and Brown academic and creative communities in developing recent programs and exhibitions like Boston’s Apollo. As part of that effort, our collaborators helped us develop a reading list in support of the exhibition, centering on issues of race, class, gender and power. The reading list can be found here. We invite you to access these resources, reflect, learn, and discuss with others. In support and solidarity, this week we will be muting our planned email and social media communications to amplify the voices of activists doing this important work.


Peggy Fogelman
Norma Jean Calderwood Director

Steve Kidder
Board President, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum