Elsewhere online
August 01, 2016

Diversity Slowly Takes Hold on N.Y.’s Elite Cultural Boards

An emerging class of African-American leaders in business and academia is making inroads in the upper reaches of major New York cultural institutions whose boards have long been overwhelmingly white, writes The New York Times.

New York’s cultural-affairs office launched an effort last year to document the lack of boardroom diversity at city arts nonprofits — finding that 78 percent of board members and virtually all ranking officers are white — and to push for change. Along with institutions’ newfound emphasis on diversity, a new generation of black corporate executives with the means to make the major donations expected of board members is also putting cracks in the glass ceiling.

The article spotlights several of those emerging leaders, including private-equity mogul Robert Smith, the newly installed chairman of Carnegie Hall; art collector A.C. Hudgins, who joined the Museum of Modern Art’s board in 2012; and biotech entrepreneur Tony Coles, a Metropolitan Museum of Art trustee. MoMA and Carnegie Hall, which in 2004 had each had a single African-American board member, now have five and six, respectively.