Ray Rinaldi's Blog

Posted on October 16, 2019 by Ray Rinaldi

The Black Art Futures Fund was a topic of great curiosity at the 2019 GIA conference, if only because it seemed to the GIA crowd that founder DéLana R.A. Dameron is on to something new with her start-up funding effort.

And so the session titled Our Beloved Community: Collaborative grantmaking, which formally introduced the project to attendees drew an eager audience, even though it started at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. The room was packed.

Posted on October 16, 2019 by Ray Rinaldi

It takes some courage to come to a conference of funders and tell them what they do wrong. In no uncertain terms. Especially if you are an organization that could use their money.

But there was a lot of that at the Tuesday morning panel titled: Expressions for Justice: Grantmaking in the arts for systems change. The exchange was open, and maybe the most direct of the entire GIA conference.

Posted on October 15, 2019 by Ray Rinaldi

A lot of the offerings from the session titled “Action Steps Toward Intersectional Trans Equity” were what you’d expect. Some lessons in vocabulary. An intro to the trans performing arts scene (or at least a small portion of it) and some serious and concrete recommendations for welcoming trans artists and others into your non-trans world.

Posted on October 14, 2019 by Ray Rinaldi

This conference is best when it gets past the platitudes of large group sessions and gets down to the business of small panel discussions. That’s when people have a real chance to share success stories — and the strategy behind them. That’s when it gets interesting.

Posted on October 13, 2019 by Ray Rinaldi

One of my favorite presenters was DéLana R.A. Dameron, founder of the fledgling Black Art Futures Fund. Here she was, speaking on a panel in front of people who represent philanthropic and government funding agencies that give out hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars a year, talking about her tiny organization as if it was just as important as all the rest. And she quickly cleared any doubt about that from the room.

Posted on October 13, 2019 by Ray Rinaldi

At this GIA conference, the microphone isn’t just a tool for being heard, it’s a social justice issue.

The rules of engagement, sent out in advance, names the use of a microphone as a way of helping folks with disabilities participate in the event. It’s right up there with recognizing other points of view, not over talking, and giving props to the native people whose lands the meeting is taking place upon. To not use the microphone, then, is to exclude, to discriminate, to be rude.

Posted on October 13, 2019 by Ray Rinaldi

There are more people of color here than people of the usual colors. It’s amazing and, to an outsider, unexpected. So many women, so many shades of skin. LGBT folks. Younger and older. It’s the dream, right? Real-time diversity. And the talk about race and funding is surprisingly and admirably direct.

Posted on October 13, 2019 by Ray Rinaldi

There was a lot of polite talk among the assembled arts funding professionals about how to build equity into giving. But the artists you invited to join you at this conference, they cut to the chase.

The Denver-based, spoken-word artist Molina Speaks, laid out so clearly just what the responsibility is for funders as he delivered a bit of his “live scribe poetry” to the crowd assembled in the Sheraton Hotel meeting room.

Posted on October 13, 2019 by Ray Rinaldi

I’m an outsider. A journalist. A critic-at-large. A Denverite. Over the course of the 2019 GIA conference, I’ll post a few observations. Here is the first one:

1. You show up.

I go to a lot of conferences. Not as a participant but as an observer and this is what I see: Reluctance. Folks are more interested in where they’re going for dinner than in the program; they straggle into sessions late, take a coffee break every 20 minutes.