Power 100

Most influential people in 2021 in the contemporary artworld


Darren Walker

Philanthropist - President of the Ford Foundation

30 in 2021

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Darren Walker. Photo: Justin French

As president of the Ford Foundation, Walker positions himself as a philanthropist-activist, seeking to promote inclusion and equity. This year his focus has been more on environmental issues, divesting from fuel and contributing to the high-profile fund pledged at COP26 to be given to Indigenous peoples. When Walker wrote an article for Time magazine earlier this year, stating that ‘if employers are serious about change, they must reorient jobs to centre around workers’, presumably he also meant this to apply to the numerous art institutions he helps to fund, which this year included substantial amounts to the American Alliance of Museums and the Whitney towards diversity and inclusion efforts. The foundation continued to support a wide range of arts initiatives, from the production of documentaries about Nam June Paik and Ebony magazine to the Simone Leigh presentation at the Venice Biennale next year. Not to mention the launch, with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, of the Latinx Artist Fellowship, offering $50,000 apiece to 75 artists over the next five years.

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