Race Forward Announces Distinguished Roster of Participants for Racial Equity in the Arts Innovation Lab
Leading racial justice non-profit Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation has selected 59 New York City arts and cultural organizations to participate in their Racial Equity in the Arts Innovation Lab, a yearlong training program to improve racial equity in the arts and culture sector.
Among the 59 participants are the Tribeca Film Institute, Whitney Museum of American Arts, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Creative Capital, Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, and Hester Street Collaborative. The cohort of participating organizations includes museums, historical societies, arts presenting and producing groups, arts service and development organizations, artists collectives, and field-building organizations. Together, they represent a wide swath of the New York City arts and culture sector in terms of discipline, size, geography, constituency, and the types of communities they engage.
Race Forward has a nearly 40-year legacy of racial justice advocacy, bringing a systemic analysis to complex race issues. The Racial Equity in the Arts Innovation Lab will work with the 59 influential arts and cultural institutions to develop skills and strategies for interrupting racial inequity within their institutions, and positively affecting their audiences, stakeholders, constituencies — as well as staff and team members of color.
Funded through The New York City Cultural Agenda Fund in The New York Community Trust, the Racial Equity in the Arts Lab arrives at a key moment for New York City with city government and local activists advocating for an inclusive and accessible arts sector. Recent survey results from the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) revealed a glaring lack of diversity in New York City’s cultural institutions, and the city will soon be releasing a Create NYC Cultural Plan, the city’s most ambitious intervention in the cultural sector to date. Additionally, a group of local community activists and artists recently released a People’s Cultural Plan with its own analysis and set of recommendations.
“By equipping the diverse and influential group of arts organizations in our Lab with concrete institutional practices for racial equity, we hope to increase sector-wide readiness for racial justice and see material improvements in the ways that New Yorkers of color experience and access arts and culture in our city,” said Nayantara Sen, Culture and Content Project Manager for Race Forward.
"We expect to increase racial equity across the field because Race Forward's Racial Equity in the Arts Innovation Lab is attracting such a diverse set of participants, from community museums to large performing arts centers to small neighborhood-based arts groups," said Kerry McCarthy, Program Director for Thriving Communities and Arts and Historic Preservation at the New York Community Trust.
Throughout Race Forward’s history, the organization has explored the significance of arts and culture as integral to social transformation and transcending barriers. The creation of the Racial Equity In the Arts Innovation Lab demonstrates the group’s commitment to integrating the role of arts and culture in advancing racial equality.