The Board of the Detroit Institute of Arts has issued a statement of support for its beleaguered director, Salvador Salort-Pons.
Salort-Pons has come under harsh criticism by a group of former and current employees at the DIA, who say he has fostered a racially insensitive culture that pays lip service to the need for diversity and inclusion, without taking meaningful action.
Salort-Pons is also accused of sidelining the involvement of senior staff with decades of experience, many of whom are women.
He's also under fire for obtaining the loan of an artwork owned by a relative. Critics allege he did not follow proper conflict of interest protocols.
The group is calling for Salort-Pons to be removed from his position by the end of August. But this week, the DIA's board came out strongly in support of Salort-Pons.
Here is the statement from Eugene Gargo, Jr. , Chair of the DIA Board of Directors:
"Our Board is aware of the complaints and allegations made public by former employees in recent days and we take them seriously, addressing each of them.
Importantly, we have full confidence in Salvador Salort-Pons and the leadership team of the DIA, and the high professional standards used to implement the museum’s policies approved by this board.
The Board has hired a nationally-respected law firm, with no prior relationship to the museum, to conduct an independent review of our policies that govern our art loans processes and conservation services. This will ensure all best governance practices will continue to be followed.
We are also committed to significant progress in the crucial areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and access. We will listen to the input of current and former employees, along with independent experts, to inform decision-making. These are high priorities for our Board and staff leadership as the museum can, must and will continue to make progress on action, in order to best represent and serve Detroit and our region. Importantly, the Board supports leadership’s hiring policies and efforts to retain a talented workforce that reflects the diversity of our region.
The DIA belongs to our community and its voices will continue to inform how we shape our future."