Statement on Americans for the Arts and National Arts Action Summit
From: Board of Directors, Performing Arts Alliance
Thank you to everyone who has advocated for support of the arts this year. The latest legislation passed to offer additional Covid-19 relief is the result of collaboration among the Performing Arts Alliance Board, constituents, community members, and colleagues in the arts and nonprofit sectors. We are grateful to all who joined us in these efforts over many months.
The Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) represents a broad spectrum of the performing arts field across the country, from individual artists to large presenting organizations. Like too many in our sector, PAA has an exclusionary history of white-centered work. Together, with the leadership of Board Chair Michelle Ramos, we are interrogating the very foundation of our systems and investing in our own anti-racist work, both personally and collectively. Centering our BIPOC leadership, reckoning with our history, and designing a more inclusive future for our field is hard, persistent work, and requires us to be accountable to each other as well as our constituents.
We urge our colleagues at Americans for the Arts (AFTA) to do the same, and we support the independent investigation currently underway and the fulfillment of the Board's commitments to Racial Equity.
In addition, we believe that the National Arts Action Summit (formerly Arts Advocacy Day) - a very important lobbying effort we have joined AFTA in for years - should align with AFTA's stated values. We look forward to being in conversation with AFTA and other advocacy groups to ensure that happens this year. In this first year of a new Congress and Presidential Administration, the National Arts Action Summit is a powerful opportunity to center racial justice, artist equity, and community wellbeing in our nation's cultural policy.
We are proud to work with so many dedicated advocates and look forward to continuing to ensure the diverse ecology of the performing arts is deeply valued and supported, adequately and equitably resourced, and where participation is accessible to all. Our ability to sustain our sector, through and beyond this pandemic, depends on us centering our anti-racist work together. PAA commits to this as an ongoing practice and invites our colleagues to share accountability to this work with timely action, transparency, and humility.
Karin Brookes, Early Music America
Catherine Dehoney, Chorus America
Maria López DeLeón, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture
Kellee Edusei, Dance/USA
Teresa Eyring, Theatre Communications Group
Aengus Finnan, Folk Alliance International
Lisa Hoffman, Alliance of Artists Communities, Vice Chair
Margaret Lioi, Chamber Music America
Abel Lopez, GALA Hispanic Theatre
Betsy King Militello, National Alliance for Musical Theatre, PAA Treasurer
Michelle Ramos, Alternate Roots, PAA Chair
Vanessa Reed, New Music USA
Vanessa Rose, American Composers Forum, PAA Secretary
Cookie Ruiz, Ballet Austin
Roche Schulfer, Goodman Theatre
Marc A. Scorca, Opera America
Caitlin Strokosch, National Performance Network
Denise Saunders Thompson, The International Association of Blacks in Dance
Lisa Richards Toney, Association of Performing Arts Professionals
Alisha Tonsic, Network of Ensemble Theaters
Simon Woods, League of American Orchestras
The Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) is a 501c4 multi-disciplinary coalition of national service organizations from the professional nonprofit performing arts field. Through legislative and grassroots action, PAA advocates before the U.S. Congress and key policy makers for national policies that enhance and foster the contributions the performing arts make to America.