Portland forum to focus on equity in arts management

Stock image shows a cloud map promoting diversity and inclusion in management

Hoping to specifically reach public, nonprofit and private arts organizations and programs, the main focus of the Arts and Cultural Equity Forum on Friday, May 12, is to ensure that people of all identities and backgrounds hold leadership roles in the arts.
 
“Although research shows that the field of arts management is excelling at supporting a broad range of diversity of gender and sexual orientation, particularly at middle management levels, the field needs to do much greater intentional work regarding diversity, equity and inclusion of individuals of color and disability in all aspects of managing the arts," said Julie Voelker-Morris, one of the forum's organizers.

Presented by the UO Center for Community Arts and Culture Policy, in collaboration with the UO Arts and Administration Program Regional Arts and Culture Council, the event is the first large-scale forum on this topic sponsored by either organization to be held in Portland. It will examine where the city and Oregon rank in the work of equity, diversity and inclusion in the arts. The journal CultureWork: A Periodic Broadside for Arts & Culture Workers is hosting the event as part of its 20th anniversary celebration.

“How do we make certain that people of all identities and backgrounds are included in leadership roles, in making and implementing business and funding policies, as well as choices around staging of performances and exhibitions?” Voelker-Morris said. “What can we learn by listening to current examples and relevant strategies from organizations who have been very purposefully and intentionally practicing this work and calling others to act?”

The forum will include small group discussions, mindfulness/centering activities and planning and networking sessions. Presentations by the Regional Arts & Cultural Council, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Arts Workers for Equity, a new Portland-based group striving for racial equity in the arts, will also be featured.

According to Voelker-Morris, research shows the field of arts management is excellent at supporting a broad range of diversity of gender and sexual orientation, particularly at middle management levels.

“But the field needs to do much greater intentional work regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion of individuals of color and disability in all aspects of managing the arts,” she said. “The forum is a place to begin to name, discuss, and question the ways in which the prejudices are manifest in our field and how we can work to change hiring, decision-making and other practices.”

Participants will include representatives from the Portland Art Museum, Milagro Theatre, Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble, Oregon Symphony, Young Musicians & Artists, Portland Youth Philharmonic and the Portland Children's Museum.

The event is free and includes lunch. It will be held in Room 142, 70 NW Couch St., in Portland from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Contact ccacp@uoregon.edu for reservations.