Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

WHAT WE BELIEVE

Arts Access benefits individuals and our community

The Arts offer opportunities for self-expression, learning, and community engagement.  They can support wellness and healing, and offer a voice to the voiceless.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity create greater arts access

Arts access is at the heart of our work.  Diversity, inclusion, and equity benefit our strategic plans to increase access by increasing awareness, actively inviting participation, and providing resources.

Systemic Racism harms individuals and our community

As an organization with strategic plans to increase access to the arts through diversity, inclusion, and equity, we actively oppose the systemic racism that underlines inequity in this county.

 

HOW WE ARE TAKING ACTION

We're planning strategically toward diversity, inclusion, and equity.

  • To build our 2018-20 strategic plan, we sought community feedback from over 100 stakeholders via surveys, interviews, feedback, and strategic planning sessions.
  • We acknowledge the roles of our artists, educators, community members, Board, staff, volunteers, and interns.
  • In recognition of Juneteenth, in 2020 Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center matched donations of team members to anti-racist organizations, began an anti-racist and diverse educational resource lending library, and offered a day of volunteering with encouragement to do so with consideration of support for anti-racist organizations.
  • Since 2015, we have increased diversity on our Board of Directors with increased representation of diverse skill sets, community connections, and perspectives, including participation from the LGBTQ+ community, as we as representation of BIPOC.
  • Each program is actively being examined and designed/re-designed through the lens of diversity, inclusion, and equity.

We're increasing arts access and engagement through inclusion, diversity, and equity.

  • We are committed to offering accessibility for programs and services to people with varying abilities, socioeconomic levels, and arts experience.
  • Free admission supports economic access for residents and visitors.
  • Our facility is centrally located and accessible through multiple modes of transportation.
  • Our facility is accessible to people with physical disabilities.
  • New accessibility initiatives include the provision of large-print signage on-site, and adequate space allocation that allows for additional maneuvering for those with mobility issues.
  • We provide virtual access, updating and increasing content with a throughly inclusive website, social media, and online interactive tours.
  • The Elizabeth Charles Fund supports artists pursuing diversity, inclusion, and equity in their artwork.
  • The Erin Warmels Scholarship Fund supports education scholarships, supplies, and awards.
  • 2020 ARTpath: Public Art Along the River Trail expanded our public art attendance to over 80,000 visits.
  • For fee-based programs, we offer scholarships.
  • Low-cost memberships start as just $25, offering students, artists, families, and residents the opportunity to support, should they have interest in doing so.  Complimentary memberships are also available.

We're reaching a broader community.

  • To broaden awareness, we've cultivated arts ambassadors to dive access and engagement.
  • We provide increased accessibility with scholarships, free-to-low cost options for arts experiences, and affordable arts purchases.
  • During the pandemic, we've:
    • increased access online by 25%
    • created art challenges, virtual classes
    • built an online sales gallery
    • increased to over 80,000 unique visits to our summer 2020 public art program and included anti-racist artwork in the ARTpath exhibition
  • We are actively creating collaborations toward mission alignment accessibility, and goals of diversity, inclusion, and equity.

We engage with and learn from artists.

  • Each program begins and concludes with artists' feedback, from brainstorming to execution, and planing for the future.
  • Based on our artists' feedback, we have created programs that provide fair and equitable support: artwork sales commissions, artwork leasing, instructor payment, and public art stipends.
  • Staff and volunteers appropriately communicate and contract with all artists, offering clearly outlined expectations, deadlines, and benefits.

We perform research and advocacy toward arts access.

  • Executive Director Barb Whitney's research and advocacy is focused on equitable arts education for youth in the United States of America from a sociological perspective, outlining the injustice perpetrated by withholding the rights to arts education from particular populations.  Her recent research on a statewide and national scale revealed, in part a trend of inequitable access to the arts in the United States.
  • Based on proven benefits of arts instruction, Whiney actively advocates for a paradigm shift recognizing the value of the arts in the development of children's learning, educational experiences, and future prospects as United States citizens.
  • Our staff team supports local, statewide, and national advocacy efforts for policy change toward greater legislative and funding support for the arts.

NEXT STEPS

While our free and accessible location provides high-quality arts experiences and educational opportunities that highlight Michigan artists, we want to increase exposure and accessibility to the visual arts for all people with a focus on diversity, inclusion, and equity.  In 2021, we will create our next strategic plan through a facilitated process.

We seek your feedback in learning how we can become more truly accessible, diverse, inclusive, and equitable.  Please know that in the meantime, we are: researching best practices for these initiatives by reading, attending seminars, and actively listening.  We welcome your thoughts as we learn and grow.  We are your community organization and your perspective maters.