About this online emergency forum

Thank you for joining us on Tuesday, April 7th, for "ART • WORK • PLACE: Emergency Session." Hundreds of you came together from all over the US and from Mexico, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Nigeria, Spain, China, Colombia, Japan, and Costa Rica in a show of force and solidarity. Efforts to create a just and equitable workplace in the art world have taken on a renewed sense of urgency in light of this health crisis that has shuttered our cultural institutions followed by massive furloughs or layoffs of an already precarious workforce.

This was the first of what we hope will be a series of sessions in the coming months. We'd love to hear from you as we plan and organize next steps. Please provide us with feedback on the first emergency session and suggestions on issues or speakers you'd like to hear from next, even if you couldn't join us on Tuesday.

The video documentation is available here.

List of resources shared by participants.

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, cultural workers are experiencing mass layoffs, and it is clear the art world will never look the same. In the first hour of this online emergency forum, speakers will present ten-minute reports from the field; the second hour will feature breakout Q&A sessions with the speakers as well as a labor organizer and a children’s therapist.

Art • Work • Place was originally planned as a two-day summit on efforts to create a just and equitable workplace in the art world—union organizing at museums, protests against toxic philanthropy, challenges to institutional racism, and lawsuits against sexual harassment and gender discrimination. But the current health emergency has drastically changed our current conversations and needs. This online forum will instead focus on the immediate moment, sharing concrete information and ideas: What is happening to workers at art institutions across the country? What coalition groups have been formed for solidarity and support? What are our strategies going forward?

The organizers are reallocating the budget for the planned summit and speakers are forgoing their usual honorarium so that funding can be directed to aid groups and individuals in need.

To register for this Zoom webinar, please click HERE.

Speakers include:

Ian Epps (Art Handlers Alliance) will explain what is occurring at the city, state, and federal levels to support precarious workers, and what actions we can take.

Michelle Millar Fisher (Art + Museum Transparency) will describe the layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts taking place at museums and galleries, and the consequences for unionization.

Camilo Godoy (artist/educator) will outline the specific challenges confronting freelance museum educators.

Landry Haarmann (Met Council on Housing) will discuss strategies for rent strikes.

Shaun Leonardo (artist) will talk about his work with young people caught up in the justice system and New York State’s recent rollback of bail reform.

Andres Puerta (International Union of Operating Engineers Local 30) will address cross-organizing and solidarity with striking workers.

Kate Zayko (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) will answer questions about the new struggles parents and children are now facing.

The forum will be chaired by Nikki Columbus.

Organized by the PhD Program in Art History (CUNY Graduate Center), in collaboration with the James Gallery/Center for the Humanities (CUNY Graduate Center) and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics (The New School), where it is sponsored in part by the Helen Shapiro Lectureship.