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SMAC Adopts Equity Statement

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On behalf of the SW MN Arts Council (SMAC) board of directors and staff, we are pleased to share our recently adopted Equity Statement.
Through its grant programs & services, SMAC provides arts access for communities across our 18 county region. We are committed to a concentrated effort to have more diversity in both applicants and arts audiences, to practice inclusivity in our practices and to work towards building more equitable systems and processes.
SMAC’s board and staff have been working internally over the past two years to better understand our own biases, to look at our programs, practices and policies and to learn more about how we can improve our grant programs & services.
The (below) Equity Statement reflects the value that SMAC places on diversity, equity & inclusion. This statement will be available in the ABOUT US section of the SMAC website at www.swmnarts.org, as well as linked in the “Reaching the Underserved” section of each of our grant program applications.

SMAC Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement

FINAL – Approved 5-28-19
We believe that all people deserve art and culture in their lives – from a moment of personal inspiration, to a neighborhood musical gathering, to a glorious production that brings thousands to their feet, to the greatest of all: uniting people through creative expression.
Tackling the issues of equity and inclusion requires commitment, respect, patience, determination, and flexibility. SMAC understands that there is no one single way to achieve equitable results, however we are committed to a sustained effort in breaking down the barriers and building bridges across communities.
The Southwest Regional Arts Council acknowledges the Dakota Nation as the original people of the land in which we live and work.
SMAC recognizes we can build increased connectivity and economic strength through supporting cultural and artistic expression of all social identities including race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, socioeconomic background and the intersectionality of these identities.
SMAC acknowledges that systems currently in place have historically marginalized and underserved indigenous people of the Americas and communities of color. We are committed to closing access gaps in the arts with urgency and accountability.
As stewards of public funds, SMAC embraces the unique opportunity to ensure that all residents of our designated eighteen county region have access to quality arts experiences. SMAC is committed to engaging in the relationship building, self-reflection, community discourse, and hands-on work imperative to make our region a place where all artistic communities can thrive. Our willingness to engage in participatory processes requires trust to be built, and that visioning, ideas, and feedback will be incorporated and credited/attributed appropriately. SMAC will focus our resources to educate ourselves, modify our practices and shift our own organizational culture to challenge disparities as we move toward equitable arts communities. We embrace our responsibility to lead equity work in funding, while informing and learning from equity and inclusion in the artistic practices and programming of our constituents.
DEFINITIONS
Diversity. The presence of difference within a given setting which may include race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, education, geographic region, national origin, and more.
Equity. Equity is the act of identifying and eliminating the barriers within the procedures, processes and distribution of resources by institutions or systems that have prevented the full participation of marginalized groups while guaranteeing the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people.
Inclusion. Inclusion is the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued. An inclusive climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions so that all people can fully participate in the organization’s opportunities.
Underserved / Underrepresented. Refers to a population of individuals who have historically been outside the purview of arts and humanities programs due to factors such as a high incidence of racial discrimination, income below the poverty line or to geographic isolation. Being underrepresented means to have insufficient or inadequate representation in decision-making or program support.

SMAC EQUITY TASKFORCE

*New Opportunity*

Do you represent an underserved community? Would you like to build relationships and increase arts access in an underserved community?
First, maybe it’s best to define what “underserved” or “underrepresented” means:
Underserved refers to a population of individuals who have historically been outside the purview of arts and humanities programs due to factors such as a high incidence of racial discrimination, income below the poverty line or to geographic isolation. Being underrepresented means to have insufficient or inadequate representation in decision-making or program support.
SMAC recognizes we can build increased connectivity and economic strength through supporting cultural and artistic expression of all social identities including race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, socioeconomic background and the intersectionality of these identities.
We are starting an EQUITY TASKFORCE to work with our board and staff members on bridging the gaps and improving our systems and processes. We are searching for six individuals to fill paid positions that will meet 4 times over the course of a year starting in August 2019. We are seeking arts-leaders and/or culture-bearers from underserved communities in our 18 county region as defined above.
If interested, please contact SMAC Director Nicole DeBoer at nicole@swmnarts.org or 800-622-5284.
SW MN Arts Council
The Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC) is a non-profit organization committed to promoting and encouraging the development of the arts in the eighteen counties of southwestern Minnesota by serving as a source of funds and technical services which enable local organizations, educational institutions, and individuals to sponsor and/or create and promote the arts in their communities.
SMAC receives funding from individuals, businesses, organizations, schools, cities, counties, private foundations including the McKnight Foundation, an allocation from the State of Minnesota, and a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, made possible by the voters of Minnesota.
Thank you for supporting the arts in the southwest Minnesota region!

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