Last year, Newman-Scott purchased a print by the phenom
, which features a swim-suited figure reclining with a tropical drink. “I will wear cheap shoes all day,” she said. “If you tell me a piece of art costs $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, it doesn’t matter. If I’m connecting with it, I have to have it.”
This kind of passion and determination has infiltrated Newman-Scott’s human-centered work—as director of culture for the State of Connecticut, where she worked from 2015 to 2018 and emphasized diversity, and now at BRIC, where she started in August 2018. “We have affinity groups, we have a racial equity steering committee, we are creating an anti-racist institution,” she said.
During her nearly two-year tenure, she’s guided BRIC to create its first strategic plan, which articulates the organization’s values and holds it accountable. Newman-Scott is overhauling BRIC’s practices and policies, in addition to its programs. “It’s not enough to just have programs that focus on Black voices and voices of people of color or Indigenous voices or LGBTQI+ voices,” she said. “It’s about: How are we running this institution? How are we ensuring that we’re creating spaces to see change internally? How is our board going to mirror that?”
At BRIC, Newman-Scott said, the goal is to “dismantle the white supremacist construct that might exist,” and to recognize “where we have blinders.” She has hired diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant Ebone Bishop, the founder and CEO of Evolv, who will make sure that she and her team have an action plan in place. Newman-Scott added, “We need to look directly into the future that we are trying to build. It is not going to be easy, or without pain. But we have to do it. There’s no other way.” She’s ready for the challenge, for the long haul. “This work is long, lifetime work,” she said.