The collection is the heart of every art museum, and at the DIA, we are fortunate to have one of the best in the world. With more than 65,000 objects representing hundreds of cultures spanning world history, the DIA’s collection is at the center of all that we do.
But museum collections are not static; they are dynamic and evolving. We see artworks through new lenses in today’s world, new works are purchased or donated, and what a museum chooses to have on display at a given time can also be perceived through the lenses of specific intentions or points of view about art history, society, human creativity, and local beliefs, among others.
When I became director, I “inherited” not only the collection but also the legacies of the curators and directors who came before me throughout the DIA’s 130-plus year history. Their choices for what the museum acquired reflected the times in which they lived and the audiences they served. In fact, we can visualize the composition of our art collection as a tangible cross-section of our recent history. It provides an amazing opportunity to explore our past in order to improve our present and plan for a brighter future.
Today, as we work to serve new audiences and live in a more inclusive society, the DIA can make improved choices that help the collection evolve and better mirror our community. As director, working with our curators, we are making a strategic effort to add more works by artists of color and women to our collection, and to ensure that what is on view in our galleries represents more accurately the diversity of our community and the talent of our times. In today’s world, representational equity is more important than ever.At the DIA, unlike many museums, we are very fortunate to have endowment funds created by generous donors that are exclusively dedicated to acquire works of art for the collection. Most of these funding sources
Colleen Clinton, Executive Coordinator in the Director's Office and Christine Kloostra, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, contributed to this article.