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This year, the International Council of Museums—a global network of more than 20,000 organizations in 138 countries—takes International Museum Day online with a focus on equity.

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) encourages museums and cultural institutions to plan activities and events related to each year’s International Museum Day. To support the theme for 2020, “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion,” the Chicago Architecture Center invited three leaders to share their challenges and successes in addressing these issues during “Advancing Equity through Partnership: Cultural Nonprofits and Industry Stakeholders.”

This program will be recorded in early May and made available for free via the CAC’s YouTube channel beginning at noon Central Time on Monday, May 18. On that date, be sure to also browse the interactive map at for International Museum Day programs from other participating organizations worldwide. All are encouraged to amplify these conversations on social media using the hashtag #IMD2020.

“Many cultural nonprofits—including the CAC—have identified and worked to advance their goals toward greater inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility,” says CAC Director of Corporate and Institutional Relations Patricia Lara Garza, who facilitates the panel discussion and serves on the CAC’s IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility) committee. “We’ll talk about our own efforts to engage our partners, including those represented on this panel, with hopes that more in the field will join us in this important work and grow their own initiatives.”

Joining Garza for “Advancing Equity through Partnership” are representatives from three design firms, all of which are CAC Industry Council members: Kimberly Dowdell, Director of Business Development at HOK Architects and 2019−20 National President of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA); Juan Gabriel Moreno, President and Founder of JGMA (Juan Gabriel Moreno Architects); and Ernest C. Wong, Founder and Principal at site design group, ltd.

Part of the discussion will explore how these efforts are further amplified and supported by building coalitions between cultural nonprofits and commercial or corporate entities, as well as by deepening relationships with people and communities they serve and impact. Each panelist will be invited to share how their personal journey inspired them to engage these issues and informed how they approach them, as well as to reflect on the difference between meaningful, mutually beneficial partnership and “token” inclusion.

As the CAC is committed to increasing access for populations historically under-represented in ACED (architecture, construction, engineering, and design) professions, many of its education programs—and all of its programs for teens—are offered at no cost to participants. These include Girls Build! programs launched in 2016 and continued online during the temporary suspension of in-person activities, and the Teen Fellows program, open to new applicants through May 30, 2020.

Program Speaker: Kimberly Dowdell

Kimberly Dowdell

Kimberly Dowdell collaborates with fellow members of the leadership team in HOK Architects’ Chicago studio to define and implement strategic business development and marketing initiatives. In addition to cultivating and maintaining relationships with clients and partners, Dowdell is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events and a mentor to HOK’s emerging leaders, the 2019−20 national president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), and a member of the Detroit Developer Roundtable and the Urban Land Institute. She won the 2020 AIA Young Architects Award honoring individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers. Dowdell also initiated the concept behind Social Economic Environmental Design, an organization she co-founded in 2005, and was recognized on the “40 Under 40” list at Crain’s Detroit Business. In 2019, Dowdell delivered the 19th Annual Dunlop Lecture  at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Program Speaker: Juan Gabriel Moreno

Juan Gabriel Moreno

Juan Gabriel Moreno is an award-winning architect and president of JGMA (Juan Gabriel Moreno Architects). Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Moreno studied architecture at California State Polytechnic University and in Italy under Superstudio founder Christiano Toraldo di Francia. In 2010, he launched JGMA with the sole purpose of positively impacting Chicago’s diverse communities; since then, its designs have helped to create a culture of change in disadvantaged communities by bringing them architecture of dignity and profound transformation, such as the El Centro Campus at Northeastern Illinois University and KLEO Arts Residences. Recognized by the American Institute of Architects and the Society of Colombian Architects (USA), JGMA was described by Crain’s Chicago Business as “transforming Chicago’s architecture,” included among Architect magazine’s “Top 50 Design Firms” and named “Firm of the Year” by the American Architecture Prize in 2017. AXXIS Magazine named Moreno one of its 50 “Design Personalities of Colombia” that same year. In 2013, Moreno was honored to be recognized by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos as one of “100 Colombianos” and received the 2013 PIECE Award for International Excellence, which recognizes Colombians working outside of the country and making a difference in the lives of children and families.

Program Speaker: Ernest Wong

Ernest Wong

Ernest C. Wong, founder and principal of site design group, ltd., has been instrumental in the evolution of the firm into a multicultural, cutting-edge design entity fostering the landscape architecture profession in the City of Chicago. Over more than 30 years, site has established a reputation for finding creative design solutions and developing thoughtful, community-oriented urban spaces. An advocate of contextually designed open spaces and urban parks, Wong has directed numerous acclaimed projects including Mary Bartelme Park, Henry Palmisano Park (formerly Stearns Quarry) and Argyle Shared Street. Through professional and service leadership, Wong has advocated for and helped revitalization efforts in numerous Chicago neighborhoods, including its Chinatown, which has evolved through transformative, community-oriented projects including the multi-phase Ping Tom Memorial Park, Wentworth Avenue Streetscape, the Chinatown Vision Plan, the Chinatown Branch Library, and the ongoing Wells and Wentworth Connector. A strong proponent of civic and community engagement, Wong serves on the boards of numerous service organizations and professional juries including the Driehaus Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, the Chinese American Service League, the Near South Planning Board and the Chicago Landmarks Commission. In addition, Wong is a frequent speaker at universities as well as design, business and diversity conferences. Wong served as keynote speaker at the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation’s 2020 Annual Meeting, discussing the future of retail and public spaces.