Partnership will engage leaders of more than 50 arts and culture nonprofits and programs to develop an Action Plan for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in the arts.
FORT WAYNE, IN – Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne is partnering with United Front to foster a culture of belonging within the organization and the region’s arts and cultural sector.
Together, Arts United and United Front devised a three-phase approach, which includes staff, board, and volunteer participation in United Front’s monthly curriculum led by Dr. Pascal Losambe, facilitated workshops with participating arts and culture nonprofits, and the development of an Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Action Plan for the arts.
Thanks to a grant from PNC Charitable Trusts, Arts United will cover the costs of participation in United Front for members of the Regional Arts Connection, a network of arts and cultural leaders representing more than 50 nonprofits and programs. The collaboration will encourage more than 700 staff members, board members, and volunteers of arts and cultural organizations to benefit from the United Front framework as a foundational step toward advancing IDEA.
“Arts United is committed to working with the arts and cultural sector of Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana to more effectively serve, celebrate and value every resident of our community. During this time in which there is a greater need than ever for human connection, civil dialogue, and unity, it is imperative that the leaders of arts and culture organizations are at the table as active contributors to Fort Wayne UNITED’s efforts to address structural inequalities in our community,” said John Rogers, Chair of the Arts United Board of Directors.
The Action Plan will align with the principles of IDEA, as developed and defined by the Indiana Arts Commission:
- INCLUSION – All feel welcomed and valued
Inclusion is the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, represented, supported, and valued to fully participate.
- DIVERSITY – All the ways we differ
Diversity includes all of the ways in which people differ, encompassing the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. While diversity is often used in reference to race, ethnicity, and gender, we embrace a broad definition that also includes age, national origin, religion, culture, creed, physical or intellectual disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, physical appearance, geography, and any other identifiers that make one individual or group different from another.
- EQUITY – All having the opportunity to fully participate
Equity encompasses the policies and practices used to ensure the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time trying to identify and eliminate barriers that have historically prevented the full participation of some individuals or groups.
- ACCESS – Of any and all abilities
Access refers to the commitment for everyone to be included in all programs and activities.
“We envision a community where participation in, leadership of, and funding for our community’s vibrant arts and culture scene is not predetermined by race, class, geography, gender, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic” said Arts United President, Susan Mendenhall. “Providing this opportunity to our staff, board, and those of our partner organizations is a vital first step toward understanding and addressing the barriers that prevent this vision from becoming a reality.”
About Arts United
Arts United is a private, nonprofit local arts agency that serves Northeast Indiana through arts advocacy and promotion, fundraising and grantmaking, back-office business support, community and economic development, and Arts Campus Fort Wayne coordination. Arts United’s mission is to advance the creative sector by mobilizing resources to elevate our community’s quality of life.
About United Front
United Front is an initiative of Fort Wayne UNITED, with a goal to bring the community of Fort Wayne together to attain racial healing, equity, education, and organizational transformation through competency training. United Front hopes to empower organizations and corporations with the ability to value diversity, assess their environments, and implement interventions that will enhance their inclusive cultures, motivating people to work together toward community shared goals.