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Statement from the Chazen re: Demonstrations in Madison

The Chazen Museum of Art stands in solidarity with those who demonstrate,  who protest years of unequal treatment, violence and the systems of inequity across America.

We recognize and mourn the centuries of oppression, racism and violence in our country, and the Black and Brown lives that have been taken unjustly. We are also saddened for the many small business and organizations that were impacted by the events in Madison in recent days.

The Museum building was impacted by the events yesterday. A projectile thrown at the Bridge Gallery window shattered an outer pane of glass, but the inner layer of the window was not broken. Fortunately, the staff on site were not harmed, the building remained secure and all works of art are protected and safe.

The Chazen Museum of Art was born among protest 50 years ago. In 1970, as the Elvehjem Art Center prepared to open, anti-war sentiment on the UW–Madison campus was high. Tensions reached a crescendo just three weeks before the scheduled museum opening, when a bomb exploded in nearby Sterling Hall, killing one and injuring several. The museum opened on schedule, providing a moment of respite for a community struggling to make sense of a bitterly divided nation.

All communities, and especially universities, grapple with cultural division. The Chazen Museum of Art will continue to partner with our community as we work through these difficult and painful times. We pledge to deepen our work on inclusivity through increasing access, diversifying programming, and closely examining what we collect and how those works are displayed and interpreted. We believe art can offer solace, but more importantly art and museums can help us pose new and deeper questions about society, and compel us all to seek systemic change, equity and justice.