Here at Grand Rapids Community Foundation, we talk a lot about diversity and inclusion. As a staff, we participate in several trainings every year around cultural competency. And we recently rolled out our grantee inclusion policy. One of our very favorite things though is the opportunity we have to partner with area organizations who are seeking to better understand how they can be equitable and more inclusive in the way they carry out their mission.
Today we are thrilled to announce a $50,000 grant that will help ArtPrize draw a more diverse audience than ever before. With this grant, ArtPrize is actively working to ensure that everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or socioeconomic status, finds themselves welcomed and represented in the world's largest art competition.
“We know that being a radically open event does not necessarily equate to universal outreach,” said ArtPrize's executive director Christian Gaines. “Our commitment to intentional inclusion is critical to the ArtPrize vision that art is for everyone. We could not do it without the help and leadership of Grand Rapids Community Foundation.”
With this grant, ArtPrize will focus its efforts both internally on its employees, work practices, and environment, as well as externally with its partners, stakeholders, and event audience. ArtPrize’s newly developed social equity plan offers a comprehensive strategy to integrate diversity and inclusion at every level of the organization and within the Grand Rapids community beginning this year.
Diana Sieger, our Grand Rapids Community Foundation President, pointed out that “every year, ArtPrize invites hundreds of thousands of visitors to experience the Grand Rapids community. We are thrilled to partner with ArtPrize to make sure that all visitors, regardless of who they are, feel welcomed and represented in our city. We applaud ArtPrize’s intentional efforts to ensure that all voices are included in the conversation about what is art and why it matters.”
Community programming focused on outreach to underrepresented communities and marginalized individuals will kick off this year. This external programming includes partnering with community-based organizations to provide wristbands for free public transportation on the Rapid and DASH services during the ArtPrize event; a fully accessible ArtPrize walking path curated for individuals with mobility issues; and the creation of multilingual marketing tools to assist visitors in getting around the ArtPrize event, finding art and educational opportunities, and casting their votes. Internally, ArtPrize plans to build on its cultural competency through trainings and assessment of department-specific goals around social equity. This effort is fully supported by the ArtPrize Board of Directors’ recent adoption of a social equity resolution.
“Grand Rapids Community Foundation is empowering area nonprofit organizations around diversity and inclusion by helping us to identify best practices and learn from each other,” said ArtPrize's community engagement director Amelea Pegman. “The Community Foundation has counseled us not only in how to understand diversity and inclusion but also in the right way to implement social equity efforts. I cannot wait to see the tremendous impact this has on the conversation at ArtPrize 2014.”