TOLEDO, Ohio — Protesters demanded accountability while rallying outside the Toledo Museum of Art on Tuesday.
Paul Verdell, an artist who organized the protest, says they wanted the museum director to apologize for a statement he released last week during the protest over the death of George Floyd.
"I love this museum. This is the first museum I ever went to. This is the first museum I fell in love with art," said Verdell.
Because of that love, Verdell says he took it personally to see the message where Museum Director Adam Levine instructed his staff to take a neutral political stance.
Verdell says it was an insult for those fighting for justice and equality.
"The museum is a institution of creativity. They have to be the charge. They have to be the leader in saying that this is not right and they can't take a neutral stance," said Verdell.
Since the post, Levine verbally apologized to his staff and protesters rallying outside on Tuesday.
"People were hurt by that statement. It caused pain and I'm sorry for that. There is no reason to explain for causing pain. All I can do is apologize and say we're gonna more forward. We are gonna take action to create a more equitable and inclusive museum in society," said Levine.
Levine also released a statement where he outlines those future actions the museum will take moving forward.
"They range from unconscious bias training for the whole staff and a commitment to ongoing unconscious bias training as part of our on boarding process. All the way to the way we think about our exhibitions and our acquisitions and everything in between," added Levine.
In the end, Verdell says the goal of the protest was to demand accountability from the director.
"The injustices of black and brown people getting killed out in the streets. There's black art work in the museum. There's black employees in the museum. You cannot take a neutral stance. Art is inherently political, so you cannot take a neutral stance," said Verdell.
And that's exactly what Levine plans to do.
"Make it very clear, museums aren't neutral. They never have been and they never will be. And the Toledo Museum of Art stands in solidarity with the black community," said Levine.