What We're Reading
The Mellon Foundation is distributing $250 million in grants to support groups and artists engaging with American monuments. The initiative puts the influence of one of the largest funders of the arts and humanities in the U.S. squarely behind efforts to diversify the nation’s historical narratives, and the grant enables Philadelphia-based Monument Lab to undertake a project unlike any it has attempted before, a “National Monument Audit."
If you live in a culture touched by colonialism, it is inevitable that racist ideals have crept into your work—theatrical work included. As such, anyone in the field must actively dismantle these aspects of their beliefs and practices. Stage managers in particular—whether acting as a production stage manager, assistant, or intern—must be mindful of the ways they facilitate our rehearsal and performance processes.
The memorial to George Floyd in Minneapolis is constantly changing. In the days following Floyd’s murder by the police, street art, flowers, handwritten notes, and more appeared outside the now-infamous Cup Foods. Todd Lawrence, a professor at the University of St. Thomas, told me that since then, “It has become a living space,” as new artistic additions have been incorporated.
“The thing that’s right is to get the theater industry’s collective knee off of the throats and off of the bodies of Black, indigenous and POC people. And it can’t be through these diversity initiatives. Diversity is not equal to anti-racist.” That’s Nicole Brewer, the freelance theatermaker and anti-racist educator who’s spent years focusing on anti-racism in the theater.
Released this summer, We See You is a campaign by artists of color calling out structural racism in the theatre industry and demanding change. A number of theatres, including Woolly Mammoth and Baltimore Center Stage, have responded with institutional changes.
State of the Art(s)
Governments around the world have tried to support the arts during the pandemic, some more generously than others. The New York Times looks at how France, Germany, Britain, Poland, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, and Brazil have invested in artists during 2020.
If Becca Graves could press through the less pleasant parts of her junior year schedule at her small-town Massachusetts high school – the peers whose personalities perturbed her, the classes she didn’t care for – she could make it to Ms. E’s art class.
With white women as the primary demographic of the nonprofit workforce, this episode begins addressing white women in their role as gatekeepers. In this episode, Fleur Larsen, a DEI consultant and a white woman, talks with Michelle to answer questions like: Why are there so many white DEI consultants making money off of racism? What does gatekeeping look like? How do you know you are gatekeeping and what should you do when you are called out? How do you call out a gatekeeper?
Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.