Articoli taggati con ‘Audiences’

Tafterjournal n. 88 - MAGGIO GIUGNO 2016

Arts Equity

di Tara Aesquivel

Diversity in the arts has been a topic of much discussion for many years and the discussion continues to become more profound, more nuanced, and more important. As Nina Simone stated, “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” The population of the United States, and many countries, has never been more diverse in terms of ethnicity­­ which is typically the type of diversity that is implied in these discussions, although there are many types of diversity worthy of attention and action. In contrast, the history of western art has been dominated by rich white men for centuries, and this is seen in the canon: faces in galleries of European paintings through the Twentieth century are plump and white with rosy cheeks? classic plays, operas and ballets are based on stories of well­to­do and royalty, presumably white. It’s no surprise, then, when recent studies show that today’s arts audiences are not diversifying at the same rate as the general public. This is a serious problem for arts organizations. The classic canon, portraying wealthy white people, is becoming less and less relevant to an increasing percentage of the population. When programming isn’t relevant, audiences shrink. When audiences shrink, not only does revenue decrease and threaten sustainability, but many organizations’ missions, which are centered on interaction with community and audience, are also threatened. The issue is compounded by the fact that the leadership of arts organizations­­typically, staff and board members­­ is not representatively diverse in terms of ethnicity, age, and socio­economic status. Community voices are, therefore, less likely to be accurately represented in strategic planning and governance decisions that determine programming. In this scenario, the programming does not adapt with changing needs of the organization’s constituency and loses relevance.

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