Stay Involved With Conversations about Equity in the Arts

From the stage to museums, arts organizations across the nation and in Boston are being held accountable. Across different art forms, the sector as a whole is being challenged to face already existing issues of racial inequalities and how organizations can adapt and change to better serve their employees, patrons, and community. Recently, these news sources have been reporting on developments with Boston’s arts organizations and how their actions relate to the larger conversations about facing and enacting change. These specific articles do a great job of summing up what’s going on in our community, and we want to take you right to the source.

We encourage you to stay tuned in to how arts and culture organizations are adapting and changing, and how these conversations impact the movement for racial equity in the arts as a whole.


Casting a Wider Net: White Institutions Must Seize the Moment 

by David Valdes, HowlRound

“PWIs need to connect with communities they’ve neglected and do so in meaningful ways by forming collaborations, not just saying, “Hey, here’s our one Black show a year. Hope you make it.” They also need to start investing in nurturing new talent…”

It’s Time for a New Labor Movement in the Performing Arts

by Josh Loar, Current Affairs

“The performing arts are notoriously exclusionary (and not just because acting rewards “beautiful” people). From its ableist production modes, to the difficulties faced by parents who work in the performing arts, the industry has long catered to those who are neurotypical, who lack disabilities, and who (ideally) have a source of income outside of the theatre (consider the scourge of the unpaid internship). Long hours are central to these issues; people who need extra time, or who lack extra time, simply can’t participate.”


She’s Been a Force for Change in Ballet. The World Is Catching Up

by Siobhan Burke, The New York Times

“[Theresa Ruth] Howard, a former ballet dancer who founded the digital platform Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet (or MoBBallet), was addressing the institutions she has worked with for the past few years, in a role she sums up as ‘diversity strategist and consultant.’ Those institutions, which include some of the world’s most prestigious ballet companies and schools, are predominantly white, onstage and behind the scenes. They know they need to evolve, and she is helping them.”

Where is Your Outrage? Where is Your Support?

by Theresa Ruth Howard, Dance Magazine

“The rolling effect of lockdowns resulted in unrecoverable loss of revenue for dance organizations that will undoubtedly change the landscape forever. But few could predict that this global health crisis would create the unprecedented opportunity for dance organizations who profess to be authentically committed to the work of DEI to have the veracity of their progress tested. Unfortunately right now to the Black dance community, they are failing.”

‘I’m not just that guy who takes pictures’: Thaddeus Miles on attending and photographing protests against racism in Boston

by Dialynn Dwyer,

“Thaddeus Miles hopes his images, taken at marches and rallies in Boston in recent weeks, carry a different message to the subjects he has photographed — one of their own power and beauty.”


That Sound You’re Hearing is Classical Music’s Long Overdue Reckoning with Racism

by Michael Andor Brodeur, The Washington Post

“While art can shine much-needed light on the problem, it’s up to institutions to correct the imbalances that keep the classical stage so habitually tilted and tinted white. And the conversations required for this task must have concrete goals, including full accountability, a broad range of community stakeholders and an understanding of not just what the problem is but why fixing it is so essential to the survival and development of the art form.”

Classical Music Had A Race Problem 20 Years Ago. It Still Does

by Lisa Catherine Cutting, WBUR

“In all major American orchestras, only 1.8% of the musicians are Black, a statistic that doesn’t touch the field of talent that’s available, as there’s a much higher percentage of Black classical musicians graduating from top conservatories. And those are the ones who found a way to get there, despite racial and economic obstacles, possibly because music was offered in public schools. That opportunity, too, is diminishing.”

In conversation with Ibram X. Kendi: Thoughts on Culture, Racism, and Raising an antiracist Baby

By Scott Haas, Bay State Banner

“I think you have musicians and artists who more bluntly have used their art to amplify antiracist ideas and to promote racial justice, who recognize the equality of racial groups and who confront racism openly. And other artists who challenge racism by being into their own art unabashedly, and by doing so create a cultural norm.”

Six Boston Hip-Hop Artists In This Moment: On Music, Activism, and Maintaining Momentum

By Hassan Ghanny, Boston Globe

“With public spaces restricted by COVID-19, the momentum of the Boston hip-hop and underground performance scene seemingly ground to a halt in March. This pro-Black movement of emerging musicians, interdisciplinary artists, and culture workers — lauded in the Boston media in 2019 as “a palpable surge of new artistic energy” — was suddenly threatened by quarantine. What in March crystallized as a collective lament has since broken through, however, into a rallying cry for this momentum to rise and amplify itself bolder than ever.”


Black Artists and Gallerists on What a More Inclusive Art World Would Look Like

By Taylor Crumpton on

“In the midst of this cultural and political moment, Black artists, curators, and gallerists are working against the art world’s systemic racism and tokenism, which aim to offer one or two individuals a “seat at the table” under the guise of diversity and equity. They are working to broaden the art world into an inclusionary space where Blackness is not regulated to themed exhibitions or Black History Month programming, where their presence is normalized, and where racialized experience is not presented as monolithic, but highlighted for its rich plurality.”

Rob ‘Problak’ Gibbs Writes Graffiti In Boston To Send A Powerful Message Of ‘Anger, Pain, And Healing’ To The World

By Natasha Gural, Forbes

“Artists have been reacting to the ongoing violence against Black and brown people, as they work in quarantine forced by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Graffiti offers a safe alternative to gallery space as the global art world scrambles to adapt to digital displays.”

Photo courtesy of Robin Lubbock/WBUR.

Elena Morris (she/her/hers) is ArtsBoston’s Patron Service Manager. She is a dramaturg and arts administrator passionate about forward thinking in the arts. Elena holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University, focusing her studies on dramatic literature and movement. twitter-4-512 @elena_pearl


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