Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion

Cultural equity, diversity and inclusion statement

Arts Bridging the Gap supports a full creative life for all humans, and believes that all members of a community should experience arts which reflect and nourish their identity, self-esteem and self-efficacy.

Arts Bridging the Gap is committed to ensuring racial and cultural equity in its outreach, funding, leadership, resource allocation, partnerships, and programs.

Arts Bridging the Gap believes that equity moves past inclusion and representation; accepting that power has created uneven starting points for some communities and individuals. We therefore commit to championing policies and practices of cultural equity that empower a just, inclusive, equitable nation.

Definitions:

Inclusion and access:

  • Every member of a community* having opportunities and access to encounter, appreciate, participate in, learn and be informed about the arts and culture.
  • Everyone experiencing equal access to a full, vibrant creative life, which is essential to a healthy and democratic society.
  • Fair and just pathways to appreciate and be exposed to the arts as well as attain information, financial resources and opportunities to fulfill cultural and artistic expression and development.

Cultural equity:

  • The inclusion and fair representation of multiple diverse populations in outreach and in the allocation of funding, resources (e.g., facilities and fiscal), and programs, providing equitable and fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some communities.
  • All people— including but not limited to those who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion—are represented in the development of arts policy; the support of artists; the nurturing of accessible, thriving venues for expression; and the fair distribution of programmatic, financial, and informational resources.
  • All people have the right to inherit, develop and engage in intellectual, emotional, material, and spiritual traditions and heritage.
  • Arts and cultural organizations and artists from all disciplines and cultural traditions are valued equally and supported equitably.

Arts Bridging the Gap Acknowledges that in In the United States, there are systems of power that grant privilege and access unequally such that inequity and injustice result, and that must be continuously addressed and changed.

Diversity

  • An Arts and cultural organization that reflect sand embraces the diversity of its communities in staffing, leadership, programming, including artists, and audiences/participants.
  • This definition includes all the ways in which people differ, including but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, geography, citizenship status, religion, language, physical appearance, and those affiliating with multiple identities.
  • Our definition also includes diversity of thought: ideas, perspectives, and values.

As an organization Arts Bridging the Gap is founded and run on the beliefs that:

  • Our community’s diversity is an asset to our arts and cultural environment and our economy
  • Every individual has the right to engage in arts and culture that celebrate their highest potential.
  • Every individual has the right to participate in creative thinking and expression.
  • Including communities through the arts and culture achieves our highest potential, by promoting mutual respect and understanding.
  • The prominent presence of artists challenges inequities and encourages alternatives and that therefore we must lead in our actions.
  • Inequity is pervasive and historic. Simple diverse representation does not dismantle the unequal nature of voice, resource allocation, and visibility that exist in the arts and cultural ecosystems. Disparities and discrimination are daily occurrences that are entrenched in long standing majority privilege and power inside and outside of the arts; tackling issues surrounding these occurrences requires an understanding of the root causes of disparities within our society.

Furthermore, Arts Bridging the Gap believes that cultural equity is critical to the long-term viability of the arts sector. We must all hold ourselves accountable, because acknowledging and challenging our inequities and working in partnership is how we will make change happen.

As an organization Arts Bridging the Gap takes these actions every day to ensure that our work and practices are driven by the above beliefs:

  • Provide informed, authentic leadership for cultural equity.
  • Pursue cultural consciousness throughout our organization through substantive learning and formal, transparent policies.
  • Acknowledge and dismantle any inequities within our policies, systems, programs, and services.
  • Commit time and resources to expand more diverse leadership within our board, staff, and advisory bodies.
  • Encourage substantive learning to build cultural consciousness and to proliferate pro-equity policies and practices by all of our constituencies and audiences.
  • Practice proactive outreach to multiple diverse communities to support involvement and engagement in opportunities, programs, resources, and partnerships and provide accessibility and inclusivity in all aspects of leadership, partnerships, and programs.
  • Champion equitable resources to support and serve multiple diverse populations specifically.
  • Commit to systemic change that will remove barriers, thus improving access, empowerment and representation in the development and distribution of arts policy and resources to diverse communities and individuals.
  • Acknowledge that there are different methods of communication, and embraces a variety of communication styles that will allow for equitable access

*Arts Bridging the Gap define communities as municipalities, neighborhoods, social and cultural enclaves, diverse groups, and groups with distinct demographic characteristics as well as more formal institutions and organizations. We believe every human deserves to be a valued member of a community.

Adopted on 10/28/2018

(Signed by all Board of Directors)

 

 

 

Our statement in regards to the murals at LAPD stations

Since 2014, the Arts Bridging the Gap team has worked with many diverse communities of Los Angeles with the intention of honoring cultural, historical, and life experiences whilst bringing together diverse groups of people to participate in our projects. We have done so to build relationships and friendships across divides, to acknowledge biases and pain within our city and begin the healing process, and to lay the foundation to build stronger, more inclusive communities led by mindful and resilient local leaders.

Sometimes, our intentions can be misunderstood and hurt those we care for the most – the community that we are working within and with. Recently, it came to our attention that one of our murals – that appeared to be part of a larger project consisting of 150 community-focused pieces that are public facing and spread positive messages – did just that. The mural in question was not a public one; rather, it was one we completed within a LAPD station. We have a long-standing partnership with the LAPD and made the decision to offer each station an additional mural that is not part of our LA Street Art Initiative to recognize their support of our community building work and to acknowledge their commitment to changing the face of policing in Los Angeles.

When painting that mural, we were asked to reference events in our city’s history, dark events that were hurtful to many. We now understand that that pain is still experienced in too many communities. Our reference to them was not meant to exacerbate that pain. Instead, we meant to remind LAPD officers that those moments served as turning points in their culture, a culture that now emphasizes community-based policing and more safe, peaceful, and inclusive interactions with the public. This message was not well enough conveyed and for that we deeply apologize.

Moving forward, the entire Arts Bridging the Gap team will continue to welcome and invite any and every opportunity to meet, learn from, and collaborate with local leaders and artists. We strive to bring groups together and empower new voices in our city and hope to continue building a brighter future for the city of Los Angeles and all that call it home.

 

To learn more about our long standing official commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion please read our statement/policy  on our website at: http://www.artsbridgingthegap.org

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We really aren’t alone — thank you!!

This past Thursday during our class at Youth Policy Institute (YPI) I took a moment to look around the packed room –with kids and adults standing in the door way hoping to get in, with our LAPD officers squeezing in where ever they could find a space and the laughing kids in the room sharing chairs so that everyone could fit.

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I was sitting on a table (because there were no chairs left – chairs are for sitting kids ;))  and as I watched our older kids from PAL Hollywood joking with one of the female LAPD officers about Fortnite and took a second to enjoy our PAL Hollywood board member talking with LAPD officer the YPI kids and our professional artist about the ‘Legacy’ they were going to create with their art piece, my heart was filled with that kind of joy that can only be felt because of true friendship and personal human connection. Continue reading “We really aren’t alone — thank you!!”

You are a part of our growing family!

August newsletter gif.gifTo our wonderful friends and supporters,

I have spent the entire last month marveling at our incredible volunteers and the exceptional moments of connection we get to experience with new beautiful humans that have recently joined our ABG family.

I could share so many stories from mural painting days! From the young artist who started painting to heal the pain she has from her sister childhood car accident and has now inspired a new cross walk mural series with us, to the couple, Patience and Vincent, who have just been able to lift themselves out of homelessness in the last few weeks and are excited about being regular ABG volunteers while building their life back up.

There is one story, however, that my heart holds particularly dear. It stands out to me because when I started Arts Bridging the Gap I was thinking of children and young families and it didn’t occur to me that our work could directly impact an older gentleman who spent 30 years in prison. Continue reading “You are a part of our growing family!”