As we work to uphold our commitment to strive to be an anti-racist organization, galvanized by the We See You White American Theater movement, and in the spirit of accountability and transparency, we are sharing our process and progress so far:
* We use BPOC when a known group does not include an Indigenous person, as to not create a false sense of inclusion in a group that does not actually have Indigenous representation
We will build on these actions with ongoing, evolving and unwavering work towards our goal of becoming an anti-racist, equitable and just organization. We will periodically conduct a full internal review of our goals, strategies and practices and, after each review, we’ll update a public document which will report on extant goals and tactics, commit to continuing and future actions in support of these goals, and share metrics on progress so far.
All that to say, we are working, and there is much to do. We acknowledge that we are deeply imperfect, and know we surely will learn more about how our efforts fall short, or have a different impact than intended. We are here for it. We owe you nothing less.
Hi there! In our August 25, 2020 update we committed to publishing our organizational budget and a progress report on our Equity, Diversity & Inclusion work within 6 months. We have combined these updates with a comprehensive transparency report and progress matrix, and we have discovered that to complete this work in a thoughtful and inclusive manner, we need to take a little more time. Please watch this space where we will file our next update, and publish these documents, no later than March 15, 2021.
On July 8, a collective of multi-generational, Black, Indigenous and People of Color theatermakers released a “comprehensive but by no means exhaustive” list of demands for the White American Theater. This powerful document can be used as a guidebook for both becoming an anti-racist organization, and for communally co-creating an anti-racist theatrical landscape. Ars Nova both honors and is grateful to the collective for their labor creating and sharing this document, and acknowledges that their demands stem from the years of exclusion, exploitation, and erasure of their Black and brown bodies and stories by predominantly white arts and culture institutions. We recognize that we are one of these predominantly white organizations, and that we have been both complicit in and the beneficiaries of the same culture of white supremacy and anti-Blackness that has caused them harm.
We reaffirm our commitment to doing the work required to dismantle these harmful, racist systems and to building a more equitable, just and participatory organizational culture and framework for art-making.
In the spirit of transparency, we are “showing our work” and sharing our process and pathways as they exist now. In the spirit of accountability, we are sharing our next steps towards these goals.
In the past six weeks we have:
In the next six months we will:
Our process is iterative; while we can’t promise it will always work, we can promise we will be intentionally flexible and responsive to change if it does not. Further, this list of commitments and actions is not exhaustive; it represents neither the extent of the work to be done, nor the extent of the work we’ll do. But, we will endeavor to become a more racially and culturally just organization that creates art more equitably and inclusively by immediately taking at least these steps.
And, we promise we will continue.
Black Lives Matter.
Ars Nova recognizes that we operate within systemic racism, and that neutrality and silence only feeds it further. We are committed to the work of anti-racism and anti-oppression in our organization, in our lives and in our art. We know that we have just begun this work and that there is much yet for us to learn and to do. We hold ourselves accountable for working to dismantle the systemic racism, oppression and violence that permeates our country and our industry.
Below are just a few of the funds to which our staff have donated over the past several days. Today, we ask you to consider joining us in supporting these or others that are dedicated to social justice, if you are able:
We also continue our work by:
We stand in solidarity. We hope you will join us.
The Staff & Board Leadership of Ars Nova
Updated May 31, 2020.