Two Minneapolis museums cut ties with the city’s police department.
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Photo by McGhiever, via Wikimedia Commons.
Two of Minneapolis’s leading art institutions have cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) following a week of protests across the United States against police brutality that were sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in MPD custody on May 25th. The Walker Art Center announced on Wednesday that it would cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department in a statement released on Twitter.
The statement read:
The Walker will no longer contract the services of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) for special events until the MPD implements meaningful change by demilitarizing training programs, holding officers accountable for the use of excessive force, and treating communities of color with dignity and respect. Enough is enough. George Floyd should still be alive. Black lives matter.
The Minneapolis Institute of Art followed suit shortly after, confirming in an email to artnet News that it “will no longer contract with off-duty police officers from the MPD.” Hiring off-duty officers from the local police jurisdiction is a common practice for museums across the U.S.
These decisions came in the wake of a nationwide engagement with #BlackoutTuesday, a social media campaign in which institutions and industries posted black squares in solidarity with protestors. The campaign was criticized as a mostly ineffectual form of protest, one that centered performance over action. Amid the ongoing protests, there has been growing pressure for cities to cut police departments’ funding and for organizations and businesses to cut ties—the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Institute of Art are the first major arts organizations to do so.