January 3, 2021—I am excited about the new beginnings 2021 offers for so many reasons! I know we all endured unimaginable challenges and struggles in 2020, but I hope you can join me in celebrating the fact that we survived! And some of us even thrived!
Despite the shuttering of our nation’s most vital arts institutions and organizations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to acknowledge that new avenues of access emerged—the virtual stage became the vehicle for our ongoing efforts to continue to engage and create value for our audiences, our communities, our donors and stakeholders. It was hard! We had to figure it out by creating a new map each day.
And then we witnessed the murder of George Floyd which forced the world to reckon with the already-existing pandemic of institutional and systemic racism that targets people of color, particularly African-Americans. One of the outcomes of this awakening was the development of numerous activist groups throughout the arts industry that shared their own experiences with systemic racism and demanded change. I believe these groups will become the catalysts for the transformation of the arts industry that will, in turn, help foster the transformation of our divided nation.
As the readers of Arts & Culture Connections know, I began this blog to share the experiences and best practices that create access to the arts; to promote the necessity and importance of engaging communities utilizing the arts, and to salute the Champions of the Arts whose efforts facilitate Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Access (EDI&A). Looking ahead at this New Year with great excitement, I look forward to sharing with you more stories about the work of our Champions. Please share your thoughts, ideas, and recommendations of Champions of the Arts we should feature, so that we can celebrate them, as well as inform our colleagues about their efforts.
Let’s make 2021 our best year ever for creating art, expanding our audiences, and engaging our communities to heal and offer hope to our divided hearts, communities and our nation.
Happy New Year!