"How do institutions and artists negotiate between sincere attempts at 'bridge-building' and creating productive 'multicultural' explorations without falling into the potential traps of audience pandering or cliché?"
Working Past Assumptions/Breaking Through Bias
- BEGIN an honest conversation about what multiculturalism looks like. Art should be a reflection of the entire universe, instead, we're allowing external influences, to dictate our tastes and point of view.
- Must STOP programming seasons of tokenism. Institutional leadership must have the courage to offer audiences, donors, funders and other constituents, seasons that reflect our present human condition. This does not mean you only produce or present contemporary work, but you take an earnest look at how the work you give the masses impacts how they will see the world when they leave your space. I don't care if your audience is 80% white, do they live in a world that is?
- ACKNOWLEDGE institutional racism exists and work to break down those barriers. America has shown us that the longer you ignore the problem, the more you feed the tension that separates based on fear, racism or xenophobia.
- HIRE people of color to direct, design and stage manage works that are considered predominately white works. If I can master the complexity of Wilson surely I can handle Brecht, Mamet, Albee or Kushner.
- ACKNOWLEDGE your own biases or prejudices and work assiduously to eradicate them.
- Do not perpetuate institutional mistakes in your artistry. BE BOLD and courageous and demand diversity in every step of your process.
- SPEAK UP for the unheard voices and tell those stories. Do we really need any more works featuring stories about our society's bourgeoisie fighting about their failed marriage or pontificating about their knowledge of Nietzsche?
- STEP OUT of you comfort zone to create work that tells the universality of the human condition.
In closing, like any change in life, it all begins with an initial step. My hope is that after reading this the process has begun.