Last month, the Arts Education Advisory Council of Americans for the Arts (AFTA) published a statement calling for AFTA’s leadership to address long-standing racial inequities and lack of transparency in its role as a national leader in the arts and culture sector, as well as a hostile work environment within the organization. This statement follows a series of articles detailing these issues published by members of the Council and by former/current AFTA staff members. We encourage those not yet familiar with this situation to read the statements and correspondence published on this matter (you can find links at the bottom of this page), and for those in alignment with the Arts Education Council’s demands to sign on to their petition.
The National Guild for Community Arts Education is committed to standing in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and supporting the dismantling of institutional inequity in our field, as stated in the Guild’s Racial Equity Guiding Principles and Policies under Principle #1: Prioritization Of Those Most Impacted By Racial Injustice:
In order to create true equity, we must center the experiences and interests of those who have been marginalized. If not, we will continue to perpetuate inequity and systems that exclude those who have been left out.
We stand and advocate for equity in the Arts and Arts Education for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color’s families, communities, leaders, and teachers of all ages. We are committed to redressing the unequal power relations and stereotypes that structure mainstream cultural institutions. We model anti-racist policies in the National Guild for Community Arts Education.
And here under Principle 3: Direct Confrontation:
We are committed to maintaining honest and authentic relationships with those who are aligned with our values and principles. We are willing to let go of any relationships that do not align with our values.
In accordance with these principles, the Guild has met with the Arts Education Council, and is currently coordinating meetings with AFTA’s board leadership and other arts advocacy organizations to discuss how these issues will be addressed and how we can support.
You can read the statement that we sent to the chair of AFTA’s Cultural Equity Committee, Abel López, here.
We will follow up with members about the outcomes of these meetings.
Background and context:
Published: January 19, 2021