“To support a full creative life for all, Americans for the Arts commits to championing policies and practices of cultural equity that empower a just, inclusive, equitable nation.” In April of 2016, the Board of Directors of Americans for the Arts unanimously adopted the above Statement on Cultural Equity, along with a set of guiding objectives and definitions, for the organization. In June of 2018, two years into working towards the guidelines laid out in the Statement on Cultural Equity, the Board of Directors requested that staff gather a report on progress. This is the result of that request.
This report, and its associated detailed appendix, were compiled in a collaborative effort across all departments of Americans for the Arts. We attempt to integrate a focus on cultural equity across our work, rather than consolidating it into a named department within the organization, and so this report encompasses a wide variety of work that ranges from practice deeply rooted in equity and systems change to exercises in relatively early-stage representation and visibility. It showcases a significant amount of energy, effort, and progress, and the long distance to go. We wish to acknowledge both of those realities. This report summarizes the longer detailed findings that feature in the appendix, which totals 19 pages and has been organized around the guiding objectives from the original Statement on Cultural Equity. Together these documents provide a platform for reflection on our progress, areas of improvement, and next steps necessary for this work to succeed over time.
Each section is arranged around one of the core tenets of the Statement on Cultural Equity. The first three components, as in the Statement, are about the internal workings of Americans for the Arts. The second four, similarly, are about our external work with the field and communities. This echoes the structure of the Appendix, to which the reader may refer for further details.