Arts United is committed to working with the arts and cultural sector of Northeast Indiana to serve, celebrate, and value every resident of our region. We envision a community where participation in, leadership of, and funding for arts and culture is not predetermined by race, ethnicity, neighborhood, socio-economic status, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or any other characteristic.
Arts United embraces the philosophy of “IDEA” as developed and defined by the Indiana Arts Commission, in order to foster a culture of belonging within our organization and our community.
- 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.
United Front, a program of Fort Wayne UNITED, is designed to empower local organizations and businesses to value diversity, assess their environments, and implement interventions that will enhance their inclusive cultures.
Together, Arts United and United Front devised a three-phased approach to foster a culture of belonging with Arts United and the region’s arts and cultural sector:
- Staff, board, and volunteer participation in monthly cultural competency curriculum;
- workshops with participating arts and culture leaders to develop a vision for the role that arts and culture should play to advance IDEA and action that set a new standard for inclusive practices; and
- the development of an IDEA Action Plan for Arts United.
Thanks to a grant from PNC Charitable Trusts, Arts United will cover the cost of participation 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 to benefit from the United Front program as a foundational step toward advancing IDEA.
IDEA TASK FORCE
Founded in 2020, the IDEA Task Force leads Arts United’s efforts to weave IDEA into the fabric of its mission, programs, governance, personnel, strategic plan, and all other aspects of the organization. The IDEA Task Force is co-chaired by Ruth Stone and Shenita Bolton, and includes board and staff members.