In February and March 2023, the visitor services, facilities, security, and design teams worked together to improve signage at the entrance to 18 West 86th Street. The purpose of the updates was to clarify for people with disabilities how the accessible entrance works and how staff in the lobby will provide assistance. The facilities team made important repairs to the lift that provides access to the gallery. In addition, with support from chief operating officer Janet Ozarchuk, new wheelchairs were purchased to ensure one is available for guests in both 18 and 38 West 86th Street as well as Bard Hall.

To enhance Bard Graduate Center’s long standing efforts to remove financial and scheduling barriers to visiting its exhibitions, the institution has added a First Free Friday event on the first Friday of each month, when the Gallery stays open until 8 pm and admission is free for all guests.

This complements existing efforts that include
  • Longer hours every Wednesday, when the Gallery is open from 11 am until 8 pm

  • Distribution of free tickets through the New York Public Library’s Culture Pass program

  • Free tickets for people with disabilities and their care partners

  • Discounted tickets for seniors and students

  • Community Comps for those who express a need (email [email protected] or call 212-501-3023).

Two BGC departments, research collections and marketing, communications, and design, have collaborated with the library science and communications design programs at Pratt Institute to develop fellowship opportunities for Pratt students to work and be mentored at BGC. These fellowships are designed to promote diversity and inclusion in their respective fields.

Earlier this month, the visitor services team participated in a training that focused on disability etiquette and advocacy in museum and gallery settings.

DEAI Working Group
BGC’s DEAI Working Group—Ebony Allen-Reece (staff), Daniel Chamberlin (student), Emma Cormack (staff, MA ‘18), Freyja Hartzell (faculty, MA ‘05), Jesse Merandy (faculty), Sebastian Moya (staff), Alexis Mucha (staff, MA ‘07), Antonio Sánchez Gómez (alumnus, PhD ‘20), Samuel Snodgrass (alumnus, MA ‘22), Drew Thompson (faculty), Leonie Treier (student), and Maggie Walter (staff)—met on March 28, 2023, to continue their work on diversity, equity, access, and inclusion at BGC.

Following last year’s internal review of BGC Gallery accessibility practices around exhibitions, the Gallery/Exhibitions subgroup (Ebony Allen-Reece, Emma Cormack, Alexis Mucha, and Maggie Walter) is working on formalizing a handbook for curatorial, design, and Visitors Service departments to establish best practices going forward.

The Student Experience subgroup (Daniel Chamberlin, Sebastian Moya, Antonio Sánchez Gómez, and Leonie Treier) is currently evaluating the responses for the student experience survey and working on compiling a report with suggestions for how to make improvements, which they will present at the Graduate Committee Meeting in May.

Next Steps
The full DEAI Working Group (WG) will meet again in April to discuss overall goals and progress, and the subgroups will continue to meet monthly. Among other projects, the WG is coordinating internal events that will take place in the fall and drafting a call for new members to join the next iteration of the group.