Race and Inclusion in the Cultural Community

Executive Director’s Letter
July 2, 2013

Although issues of race, privilege, and access to resources are always swirling among us, they seem particularly heightened these days.  Perhaps it’s the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, recent rulings by the Supreme Court, or the Trayvon Martin case, but one does wonder and think about the extent to which we as a country, region, city, and community have and have not evolved.

The cultural community is uniquely positioned to be on the forefront of creating space for dialogue and change.  Although many of the same silos exist in our sector and inequalities and misunderstanding persist, I am excited that our institutions, artists, educators, and funders are embracing an open and frank exploration of challenges and solutions.  If this really is a renaissance, it should be for everyone.  Our museums, performers, artists, and researchers are engaged, perhaps as never before.  Now it’s up to us how we move forward.  The Raisin Cycle at Center Stage, the Strong Art/Strong Youth investigation funded by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, and the Station North Arts and Entertainment District conference—Artists and Neighborhood Change have encouraged provocative and honest discussion.  Let’s keep it going and look for tangible outcomes along the way.

Continuing the GBCA membership tour, last week I visited the campus of UMBC.  It’s exciting to see how fast (easy for me to say) the second phase of the Performing Arts and Humanities Building is proceeding.  What a terrific addition to a campus and administration that has demonstrated a commitment not only to STEM programs, but also to the importance of the arts and humanities.  Let’s hear it for STEAM!

I also attended the last show of Everyman Theatre’s first season in its new home.  The Beaux Stratagem was a delight and closed a season that showed off the theatre’s new digs to its best advantage.



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