AZ ArtWorker

When I first began my work in the AZ ArtWorker program I was really looking forward to engaging multiple communities in Douglas. The launch of the program, which took place in this city was immensely successful and so my expectations when we opened registration for an asset mapping and community organizing convening were high.

Only a week away from the program, we only had 3 registrants. To say that I was worried is an understatement. We engaged Dr. Maribel Alvarez who works with communities in Tucson and engages with the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture and we were responding to requests from artists and community organizers in organizing this type of workshop, so we assumed that the program would be a welcomed offering.

On the morning of the workshop, held on a Saturday morning, in a local coffee shop, several community leaders and artists slowly tricked in to participate in the workshop. Out of the 9 participants who joined us that day, we hosted the new Mayor, the Douglas Hispanic Chamber Membership Director, members of the Douglas Community Coalition, a realtor and several artists; in short, community members who are devoted to making a marked and profound change in the way in which the arts can be engaged to creatively problem-solve the different challenges being faced by Douglas’ communities. It was that morning that I realized that what might make me comfortable as an arts administrator (high numbers and early registration) is not something I would find in Douglas. Registration is not a good indicator of what participation will be and the only way to get the word out is by directly communicating with multiple and varied stakeholders. Flexibility and being comfortable with the unknown up to the last minute have marked the only strategy that has worked in serving and working with Douglas.

At the end of the day, Maribel's workshop engaged these leaders in active dialogue with one another, something that doesn’t always happen even in this small rural community. The engagement also served to connect them with a national leader in community organizing, who conveniently, is also their neighbor. When the day’s work was finished, we all shared a meal in an adjacent restaurant, breaking bread and sharing stories.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Thrive Power (open, equitable, and culturally relevant)

Artists Working with Community

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Thrive Power (open, equitable, and culturally relevant)

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy

C4 Atlanta has maintained a diverse service population since its inception. However, three years ago the Board decided to ensure that we should strive for inclusion at all levels of the organization in respect to backgrounds, but also in respect to privilege. The organization takes very seriously its role in the community as a convener; however, we also examine our relationship to individuals and how that power dynamic may have unintended consequences.

For this reason, we made our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy public this last year. We also reference this site in many of our public facing materials, and we ask that our partners understand our policy. Because we carry this through our work, many of the artists with whom we work began to examine their roles in relation to community, each other, and their practice.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Survive Power (open, equitable, and culturally relevant)

Public Commitment to Organization-wide Racial Equity

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Survive Power (open, equitable, and culturally relevant)

AFTA Statement of Cultural Equity

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Survive Power (open, equitable, and culturally relevant)

GIA Racial Equity in Arts Philanthropy

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Survive Power (open, equitable, and culturally relevant)

Misdiagnosed Barrier

At the insistence of an important funder, we provided translators for our one-on-one consultation time, this resource was little used and we struggled to explain to the funder that it was because the vast majority of artists from this particular community were 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants who spoke English and practiced art forms like hip-hop, graffiti art, and spoken word. There were barriers (such as the diversity of our instructors, or a nuanced understanding of their cultural experience) to programming, but language wasn't one of them.

Rubric Spectrum Category
I work with Artists Artists Struggle Power (open, equitable, and culturally relevant)