Dear Brookline Arts Center Community,
We share the anger, devastation and grief amplified by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others. We stand in solidarity with our community and those around the world seeking an end to white supremacy and police brutality. We have been listening to and learning from Black leaders in the movement, and we know we have a role to play in creating a more just and equitable world by condemning the societal structures that perpetuate racism.
As a visual arts center offering community-based programs, we are committed to equity and inclusion. For 56 years, the BAC has served individuals of all ages, backgrounds and abilities within and beyond our walls. Through our ongoing ARTreach programs, classes, gallery programs and partnerships, we strive to serve and represent a wide range of intersectional backgrounds. While we have made progress in being more inclusive over the years, it is clear there is more to be done through both our programs and practices to actively address racism, white privilege and to support Black lives and artists in our community.
Black Lives Matter and we will do more.
We deeply believe that access to art and cultural opportunities is vital to the human experience and we strive to provide and foster opportunities for all to create and share. We recognize that there are significant structural barriers to participation in the arts for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). As an organization, we will do more to remove these barriers. We look forward to finding new ways to utilize our platform to lift up the art, experiences and voices of BIPOC through artist talks and discussions, exhibitions, public art, residencies and teaching opportunities.
But we also know this cannot happen without looking at our internal structures, our staff and board diversity and other ways that we as an organization must reflect on how we have failed and what we can do better. We commit to making tangible, substantive and long-lasting changes to better serve and support our BIPOC employees, students, artists and community. We know that this statement is only one part of the work that needs to be done. It is neither the beginning nor the end, but we hope that it will help guide us forward.
We believe art has an important role to play in times of crisis. Whether we use it to connect with each other, find joy amid chaos and uncertainty, process emotions, share marginalized stories or call each other to action, the power of art cannot be overstated.
One way that we will immediately begin the work of being more inclusive is to ensure that all communities within and beyond Brookline are welcome to participate in our programs, regardless of being able to pay the fees associated with those programs. We commit to instituting and continuing the following:
- Submission fees for calls for art and proposals for our gallery programs have been permanently suspended.
- Reduced participation fees are available for Brookline Open Studios & Marketplace 2020.
- Financial aid is available for our classes and workshops each session, and we will expand our outreach to make sure more communities know this support is available.
- Admission to our exhibitions and open houses is always free.
In the coming months, we will continue to examine our work, listen, learn and commit to combat racism in all that we do. Other immediate next steps include additional reading, active listening and training for our Staff, Faculty and Board Members.
We welcome your input, suggestions and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauren Riviello, Executive Director
Mika Hornyak, BAC Board Co-President
Emily Speicher, BAC Board Co-President
BAC Board of Directors