What Do Cultural Institutions of Color Need to Thrive?: A Study Provides Some Strategies

What changes are necessary for the arts sector to foster thriving institutions of color? That is the question that a newly released report posed to New York City–based African, Latine, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) arts and culture organizations.

Jointly commissioned by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The New York Community Trust, a report by Yancey Consulting shapes a conversation on how to do targeting funding for ALAANA-led organizations and questions whether sustainability is a valuable goal.

"There is no shortage of actions that one could point to suggesting there exists a pregnant consciousness around equity within the arts and culture sector from local to national funders,” states the report. “Yet, the distribution of funding that should reflect the evolving diversity of our cultural landscape continues to trend in the wrong direction," assesses the report’s authors.

Maurine D. Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, remarked that there is an interest among funders in issues of racial equity and philanthropy, and there is also a need for information about how they might make shifts in their portfolios to move toward more equitable outcomes. “The report is an attempt to develop something that might serve as a pilot or a step in developing a pilot for equitable grantmaking,” Knighton says.

“New York’s creative landscape is full of arts agencies making work by, for, and about communities of color. These groups create excellent work that is often overlooked by funders. This report provides a valuable first-of-its-kind tool for funders who want to take on racism and inequity in the arts,” says Kerry McCarthy, The New York Community Trust's Thriving Communities program director.

The report brings forth guidance and takeaways for how to approach sustainable investments with a generational outlook.

“Doris Duke and New York Community Trust have listened to ALAANA cultural organizations and shared their insights with the wider cultural philanthropy community. They continue to create the future of cultural philanthropy through their embrace of humility and inquiry as they strive for racial equity,” says Eddie Torres, president and CEO of Grantmakers in the Arts on the relevance of this report.

Read the report here.

Image: Facebook - Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance