Last week, the Association of Arts Management, Marketing & Development Professionals held a webinar where I gave a presentation about the most successful ways to build Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA) in arts organizations. I am making the webinar available to all readers of Arts & Culture Connections, which you can find here.
I was inspired by the results of a pre-event survey, in which most of the respondents listed EDIA as a top priority for their arts organization. More than 300 people registered and 200 participated in the live broadcast, where I was introduced by Bahia Ramos, Director of Arts at the Wallace Foundation, the lead sponsor of the webinar.
Although EDIA is in its embryonic stages of becoming a cornerstone of arts and cultural organizations, the growing interest is significant. Now is the time for all of us to be bold and brave; to lean into what can sometimes be uncomfortable but necessary conversations in order to ensure the future of the arts.
The key point I stressed during the webinar is that EDIA is a process. The process begins with a declaration by the arts organization or cultural institution that they will uphold the principles of EDIA as a core value. The next step is the allocation of financial support to guarantee its success.
Once those two commitments are made, EDIA becomes an ongoing journey that is core to every facet of the organization’s work. It is completely reliant upon leadership champions, advocacy, a united team (including the board) and a commitment to reflect, to transform and to be accessible. That’s the hard work that is essential for success.
Post-COVID-19 will offer a unique and quintessential opportunity to extend an invitation to diverse communities by offering free or low-cost events as a bridge back to the arts. Peeling away the layers of reluctance and fear will be part of the challenge, which makes this the most opportune time to plan our re-openings with the determination that EDIA values will be a part of the strategy,
As always, I appreciate your feedback and comments below, and I urge you to help foster more discussions about this important issue by sharing the link to the webinar.