Position the arts and culture sector as a leader in advancing equity

  • Build organizational capacity of nonprofit arts and culture organizations of color through funding opportunities and technical assistance
  • Prioritize support for low-income communities where the demand for the arts is high and access to the arts is low
  • Enable increased diversity and inclusion in the cultural workforce
  • Provide ongoing anti-bias/anti-racism training for nonprofit arts organization board and staff members as well as local funders
  • Align racial equity efforts with Forward Through Ferguson and other local and national efforts that are actively invested in doing this work

The established arts institutions in St. Louis are in many ways the rock-solid foundation of the arts community.

While this document imagines a new, innovative future for the arts and culture in St. Louis, we know that future is possible because it can build upon the strong foundation these arts institutions have established over generations. We appreciate all that these institutions have done and continue to do for St. Louis and see them as a vital part of our future.

We also want the leaders of these institutions to hear the voices of all the other stakeholders in this document — especially the voices of artists and everyday St. Louisans — so that they can be responsive to those voices that will be so vital to the future of arts and culture in St. Louis.

Equity is the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that prevent the full participation of some groups. Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the processes of institutions or systems and ensuring that resources intended for public benefit are distributed with an awareness of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society.

Humans of St. Louis Exhibit, Regional Arts Commission

Humans of St. Louis Exhibit, Regional Arts Commission

Racial equity has become a key community issue for St. Louis in recent years, and we are focused on addressing it. But we also want to work toward equity across the board — gender equity, equity for those with disabilities, equity for LGBTQ+ people, equity for the immigrant community.

We believe that we will not truly achieve a better St. Louis unless we achieve true equity in St. Louis — until St. Louis benefits all its citizens equally. We emphasize equity because we believe that arts and culture can, and should, be an engine for a better St. Louis, and benefit all St. Louisans in equal measure. If the arts are not equitable, then we are not getting the full measure of positive impact from the arts, and we all are poorer for it.

If all people in St. Louis have access to create and engage in the arts, then the arts are understood and assumed to be for all not just for some, and then the arts can be not only an equalizer, but also a ladder to opportunity, a job creator, a bridge between communities, an educational asset, a source of civic pride, an attraction for visitors, a draw for transplants, and a true economic engine.

Kath Leverenz, Continuity STL

read Kath's story