All Things Being Equal

Posted by Mr. Ken Busby, May 25, 2016 0 comments

“To support a full creative life for all, Americans for the Arts commits to championing policies and practices of cultural equity that empower a just, inclusive, equitable nation.”

This week, Americans for the Arts released this statement along with a detailed explanation of how it came into being, and why it’s important. You can find all the details here. I was pleased to be one of the 150 participants who gave input on the statement, helping craft a message that is in line with my work in the arts and arts education–to make the arts accessible to everyone, regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic circumstances.

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A Statement on a Statement

Posted by Ruby Harper, May 25, 2016 0 comments

Statement: a definite or clear expression of something in speech or writing. 

I am a mother of three beautiful bi-racial children; what that also means is that I am a woman and I am Mexican. I am a Libra. I am an employee of Americans for the Arts. I am a warrior. And I get a little scared sometimes. Once I got over the initial shock of being asked to write a blog about the newly released Statement on Cultural Equity—I panicked—full anxiety attack panic. Then I took a breath and I said yes. I was honored and humbled and terrified. What if I felt the "wrong" thing? What if I said the wrong thing? What if I didn't believe in or resonate with the statement despite knowing what was going into the writing of it and why it was happening? After getting the invitation to write a blog, I read the statement over and over—reflected on it and about it—spoke with friends and family about my struggles with inequity—workshopped phrasing and concepts and ideas...then on a flight to New Mexico—I opened my laptop to write…

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Getting Beyond Fairness

Posted by Karen Gahl-Mills, May 25, 2016 0 comments

I grew up as a white kid in the middle class—and rather racially homogenous—suburbs.  My father is a minister (as were his father and his grandfather), and the lessons embedded in the biblical teachings of “love thy neighbor” were taken to heart in our house.  My values were shaped to include service, fairness, and the responsibility to help others, particularly those in need.  From an early age, I also was aware of the inequities that existed between races, and I sensed that people of color hadn’t gotten a fair shake.  But I truly believed that, if I loved my neighbor as myself, and if I ensured that my neighbor was given an equal chance to succeed, things would change.

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The Community Arts Movement Is (Still) Flourishing

Posted by Bill Cleveland, May 25, 2016 0 comments

A new report from Intermedia Arts provides evidence of the burgeoning community arts movement. Its author, William Cleveland, provides thoughts on some of the report’s findings and what it means for the future. Read more about the full report here.

Once upon a time, in the summer of 1993, I joined High Performance Magazine as a contributing editor. The magazine, then in its 14th year, was being published by artist, Steve Durland, and journalist, Linda Burnham out of the 18th St. Arts Complex in Los Angeles. At the time, High Performance was covering an art scene that the mainstream arts community was going out of its way to ignore. Nevertheless, the magazine established itself as the voice of the burgeoning community arts movement in the U.S., providing a first hand, first voice window on artists and arts organizations making art at the crossroads of social change, and community development.

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A Beginning...

Posted by Roberto Bedoya, May 24, 2016 0 comments

In regards to the America for the Arts Statement on Cultural Equity, I have no problem with the statement. It's earnest. I give it a passing grade with room for improvement assessment. My question, however: where's the muscle in the statement that may inspire the cultural field to take on it biggest challenge, racial equity in our sector?

Some contextual information that informs my assessment:

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How Can I Use My Privilege to Make Change?

Posted by Rebecca Burrell, May 24, 2016 0 comments

I’m a white person who is consistently grappling with my assumptions and privilege. For those of us who hold power, making institutional change is a humbling, confusing, unbelievably nuanced, and sometimes it’s even a scary process. It aggravates my Imposter Syndrome and I would be lying if I said I’m doing anything more than fumbling my way through this.

And yet, working toward racial equity feels like the most important thing I can do.

I believe that equity statements are vital tools for beginning this work. Publicly stating the intentions to which your organization wants to be held accountable is a brave thing. But it’s each individual’s personal commitment that turns the statement into action; that makes it real.

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