Blog Posts for cultural equity

Acknowledge This History + Then Go to Work

Posted by Margy Waller, Mar 29, 2016 0 comments

Sometimes the most exciting and memorable speakers at the New Community Visions Initiative regional meetings are—like many magical things in the rest of life—serendipitous and unplanned.

One of those inspiring moments occurred at the meeting in Macon when Reverend James Lawrence Wofford gave us words we needed to hear about equity.

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#artssowhite - How can arts education help build equity in the arts?

Posted by Matt D'Arrigo, Feb 04, 2016 0 comments

Oscar season is upon us and rather than debating who will win Best Picture or Best Actor/Actress, the debate has been how “white” the Oscars are.  #oscarssowhite went viral and African American actors began to boycott. As a result, the Academy (which is 94% white) responded by making the bold move to change their composition to reflect more diversity.

The Oscar issue is reflective of a much larger issue across all sectors of the arts; lack of diversity. I just returned from the annual meeting of American’s for the Arts and all of their advisory councils. This issue was front-and-center over the three-day meeting, as it has become a top priority for AFTA. As I sat and looked around the room I could see why.

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What I Learned at the Learning Lab: a Few Thoughts on Art, Equity, and Social Justice

Posted by, Oct 30, 2015 0 comments

I want to live in a world where there’s room for both studio artists and community artists.

I really want to live in a world where artists have the freedom to move back and forth between those two perspectives and – especially – to allow those two perspectives to inform one another.

I believe in art for justice’s sake, in art for learning’s sake, in art for discovery’s sake, in art for empowerment’s sake. I’d like to believe that when we say “art for art’s sake” we could mean any or all of that.

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Posted by Rise Wilson, Oct 27, 2015 0 comments

I recognize that for many artists and arts professionals the very language of “measuring impact” makes your skin crawl. That the highly personal, downright epistemological work you do is beyond the transactional input/output speech of “measurement.” That may or may not be so, but if we as cultural workers can’t articulate the significance of our work, we limit the full spectrum of support available to us. And if in aggregate we can’t name our impact as a field, we remain vulnerable to the persistent devaluation of arts and culture as frivolous at best and elitist and self-referential at worst.

So the question is How best to tell the story of our projects, our organizations, our purpose so that the meaning of our work is as transparent as the value it creates? And how to do so while negotiating the power dynamics of external standards driven by grant reporting requirements and an arts economy that regularly changes the mechanisms by which art is valued? 

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Embedding creativity and values into evaluation

Posted by Jessica Solomon, Oct 27, 2015 0 comments

Evaluating the social and aesthetic efficacy of arts and social justice work requires disrupting mainstream evaluation practices that distort—or even undermine—the connections among art, culture, and social justice. We have the opportunity to embed creative, culturally relevant human-centered design into the way we evaluate our arts and social justice work. Our values and practices in our communities can be reflected in the way we evaluate our work.

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Posted by Mark Valdez, Oct 27, 2015 2 comments

Here's a thought: what if we stopped thinking about art and social justice and instead looked at art as social justice? By keeping them separate, we are asked to value one over the other, or worse, we make one subservient, a mere tool that's in service of the other. I posit that maybe they can be one in the same.

I don't mean to imply that all can or should function as social justice. But there is a small and growing part of the field that is proving that the art itself can be a manifestation of social justice.

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