Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

October 7, 2021

UW Regent Constance Rice Elected as New Board Chair for Seattle Art Museum

Constance W. Rice

Join OMA&D in congratulating UW Regent Constance Rice on her position as the chair of the Seattle Art Museum’s board of trustees. She began her chairwomanship on September 21, 2021. Regent Rice is believed to be the first Black woman to chair a major art museum in the United States.

Regent Rice was recently featured in a Seattle Times article celebrating her achievement where she explains her love of art and what serving on the SAM board of trustees means to her.

From the article:

“Rice became the new chair of the Seattle Art Museum’s board of trustees on Sept. 21. The museum believes she is the first Black woman to chair a board of a major art museum, besides ethnic art museums, in the U.S., though it doesn’t have definitive data on that. (Denise Gardner, a Black woman, was recently named the board chair of The Art Institute of Chicago but doesn’t take the role until November.) The American Alliance of Museums doesn’t keep a count of Black woman museum board chairs, but in 2017, only 3% of museum board chairs in the country were Black, and 46% of museum boards were 100% white.”

“Rice has served on the University of Washington’s board of regents since 2013. She was the founding executive director of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation USA. She established health and nutrition programs at seven elementary schools and is married to Norm Rice, who served two terms as Seattle’s mayor in the 1990s. And she’s on the oversight committee for the City of Seattle’s Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise Levy, a $619 million education fund.”

Read more about Regent Constance Rice and her profile in the Seattle Times at https://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/visual-arts/constance-rice-sams-new-board-chair-believed-to-be-first-black-woman-chair-of-a-major-u-s-art-museum/.

Regent Rice was appointed to the UW Board of Regents in 2013, and has been reappointed two additional times. She is the chair of the UW Board of Regents Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Her term ends in 2025.