Barb Whitney - Executive Director
Barb Whitney is a champion for access and equity in the arts, engaging stakeholders regarding the arts and arts education locally, statewide, and nationally. She earned a BA in Art and Art History from Kalamazoo College and an MA in Arts Administration from the University of Michigan – Flint.
In Whitney’s role as the executive director for Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center, she has ushered in leadership diversity, created free educational programming, and made strategic partnerships for greater accessibility such as the inaugural Michigan Collegiate Art Exhibition piloted in 2017-18. Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center’s work is founded on statewide accessibility: its mission is to provide public awareness, education and enjoyment of the visual arts by promoting the works of Michigan artists. As a community-based nonprofit organization, the Gallery ignites passion for the visual arts, providing a forum for self-expression and engagement through public art, exhibitions, and educational programming.
In 2017 Whitney joined the faculty with the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities and the Arts and Cultural Management Program at Michigan State University. By training students in both civic engagement and academic learning, Whitney fosters their understanding of the day-to-day operations, which are integral to making a nonprofit mission a reality.
Whitney’s research is focused on equitable arts education youth in the United States of America from a sociological perspective, outlining the injustice perpetrated by withholding the rights to arts education from particular populations. She argues that arts education is a fundamental right for youth in the United States. Based on proven benefits of arts instruction, she advocates for a paradigm shift recognizing the value of the arts in the development of children’s learning, educational experiences, and future prospects as United States citizens. As a part of this argument, Whitney cites her national arts education Gap Analysis research fellowship with Americans for the Arts performed in 2015-17. This study revealed, in part, a trend of inequitable access to the arts in the United States.
Phone: 517. 374. 6400 ext. 2