Blog Posts for cultural equity

How Will You Live Cultural Equity?

Posted by Ms. Tiffany J. Wilhelm, May 23, 2016 0 comments

When I was asked to write a response to the Americans for the Arts Statement on Cultural Equity, my immediate reaction was that I know so many other artists and activists whose thoughts I would rather see in this space than mine. I still feel that way. But I also know that people with a significant amount of historical, societal privilege (mine happen to be that I’m white, cisgender, currently non-disabled, a U.S. citizen, grad-level educated, etc.) need to speak up in support of equity and justice. Silence supports the way things are, and I’m deeply committed to helping change that.

It’s essential that I acknowledge that my views below have formed over time by learning from many people whose words I’ve encountered at gatherings and meetings, in books, on screen, online, over email, over a shared meal, or mixed with late-night drinks. I’m deeply indebted to you all.

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Equity for Culture is a Moral Responsibility

Posted by Felix Padron, May 23, 2016 0 comments

Americans for the Arts understands the value proposition of all Americans having access to the arts. After all, "to increase access to the arts for all Americans" is coded in its mission. Americans for the Arts also knows that our nation's arts and cultural sector nurtures the same purpose. The mission and vision statements that guide our field embrace this collective idea, which is also embedded through our policies and practices.

Mission statements are meant to inspire and frame the services that are provided by organizations. They also help to establish an outline for grant makers that can influence the decisions of their investment. In this context, we know that the research in our field has revealed that equitable access is not balanced and is affecting a great number of small to mid-size arts groups. America continues to be a place with mounting social and economic divide y con mucho political drama.

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The Humble Step

Posted by Clayton Lord, May 23, 2016 0 comments

The pursuit of cultural equity is a journey of mountains and valleys, someone once told me.  It is a series of hard climbs, brief moments of celebration, if you’re lucky, and then the progression begins again.  It is the type of work we do against our comfort, because it is necessary.

The pursuit of cultural equity for someone like me—someone who had the luck and privilege of not being confronted by the inequities of this country for the first two decades of my life, and then did—is a series of moments of confronting parts of myself that go against the idealized person I strive to be (and sometimes the person I see myself as).  There is irony, and a disappointment, in catching myself using the term “pow wow” when leading a session on issues of equity.  There is irony, and a disappointment, in catching myself exerting my positional power in a conversation where I am in a disagreement with someone else about whether positional power is a thing. The irony, there, comes tinged with the pain of recognizing a part of me that is less-good than I want it to be.

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Packaging Your Impact: How Con Edison Engage Its Employees through the ABC/NY’s Diversity in Arts Leadership Program

Posted by Emma Osore, May 19, 2016 0 comments

At first glance, the Arts and Business Council of New York’s (ABC/NY) Diversity in Arts Leadership (DIAL) internship program looks like your typical summer arts internship: undergraduates descend on the city and ABC/NY helps them get their foot in the door of one of NYCs coveted arts and culture sector organizations.

However, you might not guess that DIAL doubles as an arts-based platform to engage employees in the corporate sector. Huh? How?

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Navigating Grey Space: The Personal, Professional, and Practice

Posted by Sharbreon Plummer, Apr 26, 2016 1 comment

How does one lead by an example that is still evolving, or in many instances simply doesn’t exist? As a young black woman in the arts, this has proven to be the ongoing topic of many conversations amongst my peers and myself. Decades have been spent sorting through lack of diversity in the arts sector, and people of color pursuing their passions as artists and administrators alike are still faced with a lack of representation and guidance around what the future of these roles look like within the field. Most recently I’ve found myself questioning how to explore my individual path in a way that feels productive and healthy, while also understanding how that impacts my future pursuits and leadership role(s).

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How to Be (or be an asset to) an Emerging Arts Leader of Color

Posted by Brea Heidelberg, Apr 26, 2016 1 comment

You have to be resilient to be in arts management. Period. This required resilience goes double for emerging arts leaders of color and the people who want to see them do well. As an educator and consultant, I am sometimes asked to speak about diversity in our field. After these talks I hear from two types of people: arts administrators of color who are on the spectrum of “I know, right?” to “let’s laugh together about this ridiculous thing that happened to me–or else I’ll cry” (I buy the latter drinks, when possible) AND I hear from potential allies who want to know how to be helpful.

What follows are a smattering of things that I have said to both groups–as the discussion for one group is usually an inverse image of the discussion with the other. I offer these lessons I have learned (usually, the hard way) as fodder for further discussion, and a moment for us to strategize before we go back out into the fray.

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