Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at BAM

Quarterly DEI Progress Report – September 2021

Since our June report, Bellevue Arts Museum’s board and staff have continued to lay the groundwork for meaningful and lasting change at the Museum.

The objective of BAM’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative is to create a substantive, fundamental, and lasting culture shift. Our process is intentionally deliberate and incremental. In this first phase, our goal is to create a solid foundation for the implementation of DEI initiatives in every aspect of BAM’s operations.

Internal Audit – IDEA Pathways with 501 Commons
(IDEA: inclusion, diversity, equity, & accessibility)

The Museum recently completed an internal audit with 501 Commons, a Seattle-based organization that provides consulting services to nonprofits. This process examined organizational norms, policies, and procedures through the lens of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. Specific areas of focus included Museum governance and boards; fundraising and financial management; communications and relationships; planning, technology, and administration; and management and culture. The Museum’s full staff and board participated in the survey process to provide feedback and reach a consensus on BAM’s current practices and culture.

While the Museum has made progress in some areas, the results of the audit revealed that there is room for improvement in every category. Staff and board have been encouraged and empowered to begin making immediate improvements within their departments wherever possible. In time, the Museum will address every discovery from the audit at both the staff and leadership levels.

In order to ensure our next steps as an organization will provide a strong foundation for additional, substantive future changes, the Museum, with the assistance of 501 Commons, has identified a set of priorities for the board, museum leadership, and the DEI committee. These include:

  • Financial Management
    • Allocation of dedicated funding to implement IDEA strategies
    • Increased financial transparency throughout the organization
  • People Administration
    • Implement regular DEI/IDEA training for Museum staff, board, and volunteers
    • A full review of HR practices through an IDEA lens
  • Planning with IDEA Intent
    • Centering IDEA in Museum’s strategic planning (new strategic plan to be completed in early 2022)
    • Centering IDEA in curatorial and educational program planning
  • Community Relationships
    • Conduct a demographic study of BAM stakeholders and audiences to understand our current reach, and support future planning with DEI intent
    • Continue to develop relationships within the community, with a focus on groups historically excluded from art and museum institutions and other organizations that share our commitment to DEI
  • Board IDEA Oversight
    • Prioritize board oversight and engagement with IDEA policy planning and execution. Increased cross-communication with staff via DEI Committee


DEI Consultant
Setting internal policy-based priorities is an important step. Museum leadership also recognizes the value of following guidance from an independent and experienced DEI consultant as it works toward creating lasting change.

A dedicated team of staff and board members on the Museum’s DEI Committee have been meeting with experts in the DEI field to identify a partner who can help shape and implement our DEI work. This same group is currently reviewing a shortlist of proposals with the goal of beginning work with a consultant in the coming weeks. The Museum looks forward to sharing more on this process soon.


Executive Director Search
The job posting for the Museum’s next Executive Director was published at the end of August. The Museum’s board is on track to fulfill their original goal of filling this important position by the end of the year. The Executive Director will play a key role in the Museum’s ongoing DEI efforts. Executive Director job description »


Looking Ahead
Our next DEI update will be published in January 2022. In the meantime, we welcome input from our community. Please reach out to us via our feedback form to share your thoughts and recommendations for BAM. Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback thus far and has helped to shape the conversation around this important work.



Quarterly DEI Progress Report – June 2021

 2021 marks a year of transformation for Bellevue Arts Museum. Following our public commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work, BAM’s board and staff have been laying the groundwork for meaningful and lasting change at the Museum. 

In keeping with our promise to our community, we are committed to sharing updates on the steps BAM is taking to ensure that everyone feels welcomed and respected at the Museum.     

Internal Audit – DEI Pathways with 501 Commons
BAM’s board and staff are currently working with 501 Commons to assess the Museum’s operational policies and procedures through the lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. This Museum-wide assessment—which will conclude in mid to late-July—examines fundamental structures at both the board and staff level. The results of the assessment will help BAM identify areas for growth and set priorities, as well as provide a starting place for board and staff as we begin work with a DEI consultant.

DEI Consultant
As we move beyond these first steps, the Museum recognizes the importance of shaping our long-term DEI efforts with guidance from an independent and experienced DEI consultant. Following an initial search by a team of BAM staff members, board and staff are currently interviewing DEI professionals to identify a consultant who can begin working with the Museum this summer.  

Staff, Board, and Volunteer Trainings
The Museum has provided initial anti-racism and unconscious bias training to staff and will provide ongoing training to staff, board, and docents with guidance from a DEI consultant.

Committee Work
BAM’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee—comprised of board, advisory council, and staff members—has been meeting regularly to make strides forward on DEI work. Most recently, this has included working with the search committees for our open Executive Director and Director of Education positions to ensure an equitable hiring process. The DEI Committee will also be partnering with the Strategic Planning Committee on a new strategic plan for the Museum that incorporates DEI at all levels, to be released in the first quarter of 2022.

Executive Director Search
Our next Executive Director will play a key role in the Museum’s ongoing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. With that in mind, our Interim Executive Director has been working closely with Museum leadership and the hiring committee to craft a job description that captures the Museum’s needs and expanding vision in this time of transformation. The official search will open this summer with the goal of filling the role before the end of 2021.

Looking Ahead
We recognize that building a more inclusive and welcoming organization takes time and commitment. The steps outlined above are just the beginning of making meaningful change at BAM and we look forward to learning and growing in the months ahead. Our next DEI update will be published in September 2021. In the meantime, we welcome input from our community. Please reach out to us via our feedback form to share your thoughts and recommendations for BAM’s future.