Illuminating the Human: Transforming the Museum for 21st Century Participants

Jennifer Gonzalez
History of Art and Visual Culture
UC Santa Cruz

David Yager
Art and Digital Arts & New Media
UC Santa Cruz

A recent National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy report found that 55% of grantor dollars serve just 2% of elite cultural institutions, while a University of Chicago study noted a seismic shift in U.S. demographics: “Within four decades, the group that has historically constituted the core audience for museums – non-Hispanic whites – will be a minority.” This one-day interdisciplinary conference at UC Santa Cruz, Illuminating the Human: Transforming the Museum for 21st Century Participants, featured UC alumnus Jock Reynolds, former director of Washington, D.C.’s Project for the Arts and now The Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale Art Gallery, America’s oldest university teaching museum. The conference drew humanities scholars from fields as diverse as ethnic studies, digital technology, music, women’s studies, architecture, literature, and history, to jumpstart a collaborative conversation about the nature, role, and significance of museums on UC campuses, in California, and in the wider world.