Art and Inclusion


When I arrived at the High in 2015, the Museum faced a difficult truth: an exceptional collection and world-class architecture could not exclusively make us essential within the diverse and growing city that we call home. That realization forced us to change. We embraced inclusivity as a value and as a measurable objective.

Nearly five years after accelerating our commitment to inclusivity, it felt like an appropriate time to pause and transparently share our progress. In 2020 we released our first Art + Inclusion report, with a further commitment to updating our progress via this dashboard annually.

While this data has been used in different ways at different times, the report and this dashboard provides a comprehensive assessment of our efforts.

The data both underscores the very real adaptation of our culture and points to gaps and shortcomings. In other words, while it marks our progress, it more importantly establishes a baseline to guide the Museum‘s ongoing dialogue about what‘s next.

We certainly do not have all the answers. We understand that there is progress that is not “graphable.” And we‘re aware that we‘ve not achieved the full measure of change to which we aspire.

However, we will continue steadfastly toward our goal of being a place where all Atlanta is comfortable coming together. Achieving that will take continuous focus and the relentless reinforcement of inclusivity as integral to everything we do.

—Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., Director


From 2015 to 2020, the High increased its Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) participation from 15% in 2015 to 51% in 2020, a 240% increase. Over the last four years, we have averaged 47% in BIPOC audience participation. We have made a conscious effort to ensure that our audience reflects the diverse makeup of Metro Atlanta communities by intentionally presenting diverse exhibitions, increasing community access, establishing and continuing unique partnerships, and developing interesting programming.

Significantly reduced attendance during the pandemic negated our ability to collect a statistically relevant sample. Hence, we consider FY2021 unreportable.


Metro Atlanta Area

High Museum of Art

Education Level (FY20)

National Arts Audiences Data

High Museum
Atlanta, Georgia
U.S. Census Bureau
Arts Audiences
2020 Culture Track** ***
US Adult Population
2020 Culture Track** ***
White 49% 37.6% 85% 63%
Black/African American 21% 51.8% 3% 12%
Latinx and Hispanic 9% 4.3% 5% 16%
Asian or Pacific Islander 7% 4.2% 4% 6%
Native American or Alaska Native 1% 0.2% <1% 1%
Multiple Races 8% 2.4% 2% 2%
Other 7%

** Data from 653 participating organizations' respondents.
***Culture + Community in a Time of Crisis: A Special Edition of Culture Track; LaPlaca Cohen and sloverlinett Audience Research; July 7, 2020.

National Arts Audiences

Arts Audiences
2020 Culture Track** ***
US Adult Population
2020 Culture Track** ***
White 85% 63%
Black/African American 3% 12%
Latinx and Hispanic 5% 16%
Asian or Pacific Islander 4% 6%
Native American or Alaska Native <1% 1%
Multiple Races 2% 2%

** Data from 653 participating organizations' respondents.
***Courtesy LaPlaca Cohen.

Age of High Museum Visitors (FY20)

Household Income of High Museum Visitors (FY20)

A Quick Note on Visitation
The demographic data contained on the following pages is collected in two ways: 1) our visitors self-identify via touch polls located throughout the Museum and 2) via mobile phone data aggregated via on-site visitation. This data excludes the nearly 55,000 schoolchildren who visit the Museum on an annual basis.

Artworks on View (FY20)

American Art

By Gender

By Race

African Art

By Gender

By Race

Decorative Art

By Gender

By Race


By Gender

By Race

Folk and Self-Taught Art

By Gender

By Race

Modern and Contemproary Art

By Gender

By Race

European Art

By Gender

By Race

This represents accessioned works only and includes works in special exhibitions and permanent collection gallery rotations. African works attributed to a group of culture are counted as one unique artist per object. All works by unknown artists are counted as male.


The following historical data shows acquisitions from two perspectives: total number of works purchased and total cost of works purchased. To gain a comprehensive overview of this data, it is important to toggle between both charts. For example, between FY17 and FY19, artists of color represented on average 32% of the funds annually expended to purchase new works. However, during that same time period, those same acquisitions represented on average 52% of the total number of works acquired each year.

Acquisitions by Number

Acquisitions by Dollar Amount


A Quick Note on Acquisitions
In FY2021, pandemic-related financial uncertainty caused us to impose a moratorium on acquisitions. Consequently, we consider FY2021 unreportable.


From FY11 through FY15, 32% of exhibitions featured women artists, artists of color, and LGBTQ+ artists. From FY16 through FY2020, we redoubled our efforts, increasing our presentation of exhibitions featuring women artists, artists of color, and LGBTQ+ artists to 62%, a 94% increase in diverse voices and experiences.

In FY2021, that percentage increased to 67%.


Exhibitions featuring women artists, artists of color, and LGBTQ+ artists

Talent Pipeline

Mellon Undergraduate
Curatorial Fellowship Program

In 2012, the High Museum was named an original partnering institution of the Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program. The program increases diversity in the curatorial field by mentoring undergraduate students who have an interest in pursuing curatorial studies. The Mellon program supports a two-year paid fellowship ($20,000 for full two-year fellowship). To date, 10 students have been assigned to the High Museum, and several have been hired as High Museum employees in various disciplines within the Museum.

The High is 1 of 6 participants in the Mellon Curatorial Program.

HIGH MUSEUM OF ART, LACMA, MFAH, Art Institute of Chicago, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Nationally the cohort has introduced 495 students from historically underrepresented backgrounds to museum careers, and successfuly mentored more than 50 students in 2-year curatorial fellowships.

Since 2014, the High Museum has introduced museum careers to 90 students from diverse backgrounds through the Mellon Summer academy.

AUC Art Collective

Last year, the High joined the Atlanta University Center Collective for the Study of Art History and Curatorial Studies. The collective’s goal is to extend the talent pipeline and further the important work of diversifying the field of curatorial studies with high school students. In partnership with the Early College Programs in Art History and Curatorial Studies at Spelman, the High supports rising junior and senior students of color to pursue undergraduate studies in art history and curatorial studies.

Students participated
Students participated
Students participated

Driskell Prize

Since its inception (2005), the Driskell prize has recognized an early- to midcareer African American scholar or artist whose work makes an original and important contribution to the field of African American art or art history. The endowment for Driskell, which boasts just over a million dollars for the acquisition of African American artwork, has supported the purchase of 50 works by African American artists and awarded cumulative gifts of $375,000 to past recipients.

Quick Note: The Driskell Dinner was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Funds Raised


A Quick Note on Staff
As of 2020, the Museum employed approximately 135 staff. The data provided excludes approximately 80 security and janitorial staff, which are provided by independent third-party vendors.

In FY2021, the High intentionally reappraised and addressed the notion of a livable wage for its employees. All Museum employees now make either a minimum of $15/hour as non-exempt staff, or $40,000/year if designated exempt.

Percentage of White Employees at the High Museum

Percentage of Intellectual Leadership staff* by race/ethnicity

In 2018, the High participated in a national Mellon Foundation study of art museum staff. In every demographic category (ethnicity, gender, and “intellectual leadership”), the Museum scored significantly higher than the national average among peer institutions.

*educators, curators, conservators, senior administrators


Teen Team

The Teen Team is a diverse group of junior and senior high school students who work at the Museum as paid employees to gain knowledge and experience in various disciplines of the Museum. The Teen Team program is nationally regarded as a competitive program for teens who may be interested in the arts. Each year, at least two Teen Team seniors are offered Posse Scholarships, which covers full tuition and board to some of the nation’s top universities.

  • White
  • Black/African American
  • Latinx and Hispanic
  • Middle Eastern
  • Asian







Board of Directors

While gender diversity has been adequately represented on the Board, when looking at ethnicity, only 15% of Board members represent people of color.


Over the last five years, the High’s docent corps has steadily and successfully increased its recruitment efforts to invite people of color to act as art ambassadors for the Museum.

*There was no docent recruiting class for FY2020.

A Quick Note on Board Diversity
While progress has been made in diversifying Board representation by age and gender, further diversification by ethnicity is a strategic priority and area for improvement.

A Quick Note on Docents
There was no recruitment for the High's Docent's class in 2020 due to the COVID-19 and the absence of school groups.