Should arts organizations think about diversity differently?

Posted on: October 27, 2009

In Monday’s (10/26) Huffington Post, Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser writes, “Having spent a great deal of my career working with arts organizations of color, I am as committed as anyone to the diversity of our arts ecology. … But I do not think I believe anymore in forcing Eurocentric arts organizations to do diverse works or to put one minority on a board. When large, white organizations produce minority works they typically select the ‘low hanging fruit,’ the most popular works by diverse artists featuring the most famous minority performers and directors. This almost invariably hurts the minority arts organizations in the neighborhood, most of which are small and underfunded, and cannot afford to match the marketing clout or the casting glamour of their larger white counterparts. … And when a single minority is placed on a board with no responsibility other than to represent a race, it does nothing to change the true mission, or audience base, of the organization. More is required. … I would prefer to see great African American, Asian American, Latino and Native American arts organizations whose excellent work complements the excellent work of the large white groups. And when a predominantly white organization does a major work by a minority artist, I would love to see it done in collaboration with an arts organization of color.”

Posted October 27, 2009