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Actions for Racial Equity

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Predominantly white institutions such as symphonies, operas, ballets, and arts museums, that comprise just 2 percent of all cultural institutions, receive nearly 60 percent of arts funding nation-wide (Not Just the Money Report, 2017). Community-based cultural institutions, especially those led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists and cultural workers, have been historically underfunded by government cultural and arts agencies as well as private funders. Thanks to ongoing BIPOC organizing efforts, especially the recent intergenerational efforts in the summer of 2020 that responded to the continual killings of Black community members including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, public awareness of historic injustices has increased alongside a public will to repair and heal from those injustices. BIPOC artists, arts administrators, and funders have called on cultural institutions and arts organizations throughout the country to prioritize BIPOC artists and creative communities and commit to the process of ensuring inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) in all aspects of their work. 

AEA has responded to calls from our community to explicitly name our constant commitment to equity and racial justice. Throughout all of our programs and partnerships, we will address white supremacy culture within arts education organizations in order to work towards an outcome of collective, creative liberation. 

AEABA will continue to strengthen the Bay Area arts education ecosystem by supporting a network of locally based coalitions composed of Bay Area school districts, community-based organizations, city agencies, teaching artists, families, and funders to ensure that all young people have access to creative practices and caring artistic mentors. AEABA works with arts practitioners to leverage the cultural competency of our young people and embody Creative Youth Development practices rooted in the three values of Racial Equity, Youth Leadership, and Collective Action. We are also looking to expand our connection to Bay Area organizations that undertake creative aging initiatives in an effort to further center the power of intergenerational creative culture making.

AEA’s actions to continue the ongoing work towards racial equity and social justice include:

AEA Board
Three years ago, the majority of AEABA’s board members were white and 72% of them represented large, San Francisco-based cultural institutions. In 2021, 66% of AEABA’s board members identify as BIPOC and 50% represent community-arts organizations from around the Bay Area. 

By 2022, the AEA Board will include: 

  • Majority BIPOC representation

  • Majority representation of those working in community-arts organizations 

  • Representation from all 5 regions of the San Francisco Bay Area (East Bay, North Bay, Peninsula, South Bay, San Francisco) 

  • Teaching artist and youth artist (under 25 years old) representation

AEA Events & Programs
AEA will cultivate creative teaching and leadership practices that address the destructive legacy of white supremacy culture and work towards practices that are collaborative, equitable, and develop a radical sense of belonging with an outcome of collective liberation.

Moving forward:

  • All AEA sponsored events and programs will be facilitated or co-facilitated by paid BIPOC arts leaders

  • AEA will continue to support affinity spaces for BIPOC creatives to build community and wellness, such as the past Wellness Circle for BIPOC Creatives facilitated by Sheba Aaberg and Aimee Espiritu

  • AEA will partner with community arts organizations and pay youth and teaching artists to advise AEABA on future programs and events  

  • We will continue to find ways to center BIPOC teaching artists, young people and elders in decision making and leadership. 

Local Initiatives for Racial Equity in the Arts
AEA board and staff will actively participate in local and national initiatives around racial equity and the arts


Past efforts by staff and Board Members have included:

  • Co-facilitating the White Advocates for Racial Equity Network through the National Guild for Community Arts Education

  • Co-facilitating ongoing Racial Equity in the Arts conversations in San Francisco

  • Co-leading anti-racism task forces and IDEA initiatives within their organizations

  • Presenting at public forums and webinars on issues of racial justice within arts education

  • Developing culturally responsive arts education curricula

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