5 Things You Should Know About artEquity
Art is not created in a vacuum. It's by no means a new idea, but it is one that bears repeating. Here at The Lark, we couldn't do the work we do without the help of some stellar partner organizations, like The Apothetae, The New Black Fest, Silk Road Rising, and Golden Thread Productions. We are constantly learning from fellow arts organizations in New York and around the world, and we'd like to share a bit about some of the people and places that inspire us. First up, we're putting the spotlight on artEquity. This growing movement was founded by Carmen Morgan and the staff of facilitators includes Lark's own Managing Director Michael Robertson. artEquity aims to train arts administrators to facilitate equity-based initiatives nation-wide. Here are just a few of the reasons we are big, big fans.
1. Their Facilitator Training program just might save the world.
artEquity offers intensive weekend retreats that provide training in how to facilitate hard conversations. Deep analysis and skills building pair with meaningful discourse on issues of inclusion, equity, and the role of art makers. Participants attend plays, join a national cohort of colleagues in the field and help sustain a national arts movement. Limited scholarships are available for participants and can be filled out at the end of registration forms.
A number of Larkees have participated in the artEquity Facilitation Training, including Anna Kull, who had this to say of her experience: "The artEquity
training was a pivotal experience for me. It sent me out into the world with a hunger to work towards justice, to talk about difficult issues and to commit to ongoing education. The training deepened my understanding of privilege and oppression and it has breathed new life into my work at The Lark influencing every part of my job from the selection process for our apprentice program to how I set up our new database. I came away with a personal charge to lead with love, to create and respect space, to really listen, not to co-opt and to find
within myself the generosity, courage and honesty of my artEquity cohort."
2. Their Twitter feed will restore your faith in the internet.
Just look at how many times the word "learn" shows up!
3. They have a useful and accessible platform of online tools.
Right from your own desktop you can check out some extremely enlightening information sheets like Best Practices for Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives, Organizational Traps and Strategies, and Valuing Diversity vs. Moving Toward Inclusion. There are also webinars available like the one below!
4."The goal is not complicated...but the work is."
"I am reminded that in theater, we are uniquely positioned to engender empathy because of the physical fact of all our bodies sharing space," said Lark Roundtable Director Krista Williams, after her experience at artEquity's Facilitator Training. "I found myself enormously grateful to return home to an organization that takes the power of that emotional experience seriously as a very real tool in the ongoing work towards social justice - work that societies have been brilliantly and catastrophically sabotaging for centuries. Theater
can't save the world alone but it is a real and tangible tool in ensuring that no single community is reduced in reflection, to cultural tropes. The goal is not complicated: we want to live in a world that sees and treats everyone as equally human. But the work is: we have to build that world."
5. Getting to know artEquity begins with getting to know yourself.
artEquity's Facilitator Training asks participants to take a look at their own identities as the first step in learning how they, individually, will be able to act as an effective advocate for equity in the arts and the world.
"Two simple things I feel I can carry with me in any situation are know your identity and social location, meaning: 'know what you don't know' and 'know where your privilege is,'" said Lark Development Manager and Facilitator Training participant Roni Ferretti. "When you walk into a room, your privilege walks in with you, and you need to know exactly how you look to others. It may not be how you feel, or how you think of yourself, but you have to know what you bring into a room. You can only work towards equity if you are absolutely honest about that."