Our Agenda for Change

The Wadsworth strives to be a welcoming and inclusive place where all people are valued, respected, and embraced. As a civic institution, we are committed to advancing racial equity and inclusion as we all face the evolving pandemic and confront systemic racism in its many forms. We’re embracing the imperative to evolve our approach, from the scope of programs we provide, to the works of art that we display, and the stories we tell about them. There is much work to be done, and we’re addressing it head on.

A New Strategic Plan and Diversity, Equity, Accessibility & Inclusion (DEAI) Initiative Guide Our Path Forward

With the help of AMS Planning & Research, the Wadsworth is moving forward within the framework of a new strategic plan. The purpose-first plan responds to the rapidly evolving environment in which we operate and sets our course for the coming years. As the overall planning process proceeds, we are already putting these key goals into practice:

  • Celebrate art and art-making: Care for, acquire, and share the collection in ways that reflect current and future generations.
  • Showcase storytelling: Illuminate relevant, compelling, human stories.
  • Demonstrate relevance and public-ness: Grow partnerships through relationships with Hartford’s and Connecticut’s diverse communities, to complement national and international recognition.
  • Animate place: Reimagine our space on Main Street to be inviting, welcoming, and vital, both in and of Hartford and accessible to all.
  • Transform culture: Build an inclusive organizational culture that is active, aligned, and accountable.

You will see our work going forward address or reflect these important goals which closely align with our ongoing DEAI initiative. We are grateful to the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation for its support of our DEAI work and to VallotKarp Consulting LLC, whose guidance at the outset of our process was invaluable.

Advancing Strategic Plan & DEAI Goals

The Wadsworth is giving curatorial attention to collection objects that have been historically neglected, to reevaluate their importance and develop plans for their display, particularly within our collections of African, Caribbean, Mexican, and Native American art. The museum’s acquisition strategy is committed to increasing representation by women artists, artists of color, and indigenous artists.

While the breadth of our collection is one of our strengths, we know that our ability to tell the varied human stories illuminated by each work of art is equally as important. Planning is underway for significant reinstallations of collection galleries, especially in the area of American art, to provide more equitable displays and narratives and to better represent and support the experiences of visitors of all backgrounds.

We will continue to advance and build upon inclusive narratives such as those emphasized in recent exhibitions: Be Seen: Portrait Photography since Stonewall (2019); Afrocosmologies: American Reflections (2019–20); and most recently, By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500-1800 (2021–22). Keep an eye on our Upcoming Exhibitions page for announcements of our next projects, currently in development.