More on Equity and Arts For Life

Guiding Beliefs

We believe diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism are inextricably connected to our mission, and every facet of our work.

We believe we have a part in the work of dismantling white supremacy culture in order to create a better world for all people.

We believe diversity includes the visible and invisible qualities that make people, and their perspectives, unique.

We believe the arts empower people to use their voices and stand up for what they believe in, and the tools of expression and creation we share with children will not just create art and music, but also change.

We believe we have much to learn, and we are committed to listening and acting.

Equity Commitment

While our actions to create a more equitable and just Arts For Life include additions of new information and initiatives, they also include dismantling and removing barriers to equity. We will continue working to identify opportunities to advance equity and eradicate harmful practices within Arts For Life and open ourselves up to accountability and feedback from our community.

This Commitment details the actions we are taking to ensure that every participant, staff member, board member, volunteer, and intern are able to participate fully and to prosper. This is a living document. We commit to updating as we encounter information new to us and additional resources and opportunities.

Last updated February 2022.

Programming Development & Execution

Current and Ongoing

  • When creating and updating curriculum, we follow guidelines that promote cultural sensitivity, inclusivity, and diverse representation. We also analyze our curriculum based on best practices for avoiding and eliminating cultural appropriation, historically euro-centric educational models, and the centering of whiteness.
  • For all curriculum, we are updating our supporting resources to include a history of each form of art, music, and writing from a global perspective. We are identifying and uplifting modern practitioners who represent a diversity of identities in regards to race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, disability, and diagnosis.
  • We provide accessibility aids for various arts supplies.
  • We provide free lessons, educational content, and materials to remote participants as we are able.

Future Plans

  • In 2022, throughout the reassessment of all of our curriculum, we will be removing all lessons that incorporate any form of cultural appropriation.
  • We will be updating our curriculum to include explicitly anti-racist language and developing lessons that center anti-racist principles.
  • We will be updating all lessons focused on our chapter cities and their surrounding areas to include information about the indigenous nations who first lived here and those who continue to live here.
  • We will implement a simple, accessible way for participants to give us equity related feedback by 2023.

Organizational Processes & Policies

Current and Ongoing

  • All staff members attend equity meetings and are involved in equity-centering work.
  • All staff, board members, volunteers, and interns agree to uphold and enact the standards of our Equity Statement.
  • We have updated our organizational anti-discrimination and harassment policy.
  • An annual audit will occur evaluating processes, policies, and programming to identify gaps and opportunities to strengthen our commitment to equity through action.
  • All staff members give and receive formal feedback on both their and the organization’s commitment to and actions supporting equity, inclusion, access, and anti-racism.
  • The opportunity to share personal pronouns is extended to all staff, board members, volunteers, and interns on intake/onboarding forms and on name tags. Staff also include their pronouns in their email signatures and on their business cards.
  • All staff, board members, volunteers, and interns will have access to resources for continuing education and support for advancing equity. Staff have the opportunity to engage with these resources during their regular work hours on paid time.

Future Plans

  • A module focused on equity, inclusion, access, and anti-racism will be added to the training process for volunteers and interns by Summer 2022.
  • We plan to seek out partnerships from organizations that closely support and thoroughly represent the communities we have historically underserved, underrepresented and misrepresented, and systemically excluded.
  • We plan to offer periodic training and learning opportunities for staff and board members.
  • In our annual meetings with our hospital partners, we will be intentionally addressing any feedback and questions regarding equity.
  • We will engage in conversations with donors and funders about how we are approaching equity as an organization.
  • Future policies will be created collaboratively with input from multiple levels within the organization.