I am honored to have this opportunity to interview Gary Steuer, president and CEO of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. Gary is a respected colleague, a member of Grantmakers in the Arts’ board of directors, and co-chair of the GIA Denver Conference Planning Committee for the upcoming annual conference. I am pleased to note that Bonfils-Stanton has been embracing equity in their support of Denver’s nonprofit community, including its arts organizations.
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For the past decade, landmark research has begun proving what many creatives have long known: the arts have an equity problem. And it is widespread. Despite cultural phenomena like the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, asymmetries are ubiquitous in the production and consumption of the arts.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become major topics of conversation in arts and culture within the past decade. Studies have shown that there is a marked lack of DEI in all areas of the sector, including audiences, artistic offerings, governing boards, professional staff, and financial support. Compounding this issue is the rapidly changing demographic makeup of the United States; it is estimated that by 2042, people of color will no longer be in the minority.
The new Arts & Culture Leaders of Color Fellowship, launched by Americans for the Arts, The Joyce Foundation, and American Express Foundation, introduced recently its first 12 fellows. The fellowship is a one-year professional development program for emerging and mid-career arts leaders of color across arts disciplines in the Great Lakes region.
Funders are redefining philanthropic giving in education, focusing increasingly on advancing education equity, according to a new report from Grantmakers for Education.
As a society and country, we continue to struggle with the legacy of racism and the structural barriers that have been created to privilege some while oppressing others. Building racial equity and social justice takes dedication, inspiration, honesty, and a willingness to admit and learn from our failures. There are no foolproof guides or programs, nor one right path to achieving racial equity. It becomes a daily practice to question norms and work to make change.
Understanding where our values and beliefs come from is a key drive for people committed to social change, according to a recent blog post by Julienne Kaleta and Joanna Carrasco, Living Cities coordinators.
Last year, the League of American Orchestras partnered with The Sphinx Organization and New World Symphony (NWS) launching the National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS), an initiative to increase Latinx and Black orchestra players in the country.
As we come to the close of February, and therefore the close of Black History Month, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the many posts sharing black stories. There have been calls reminding us to celebrate #blackgirlmagic, to speak out the truth that #BlackLivesMatter, and reminders that movements only succeed when we’re all active and engaged. For these reasons, we at GIA commit ourselves to racial equity in our work, our team, and in the field.