Adopted in 2016, the vision of Tacoma Arts Live is that of “A South Sound community that honors all cultures and enjoys shared prosperity.”
We acknowledge that this vision is dynamic. It demands a constant process of reflection, critical analysis, dialogue, and change, rooted in a commitment to confronting both institutional and structural racism. Realizing this vision requires us to challenge and re-craft existing decision-making and power structures, listen deeply, and revise both policies and practices. We are challenged to examine our biases with humility and declare shared goals forged in partnership with community voices.
We recognize that transforming venues and events that once symbolized exclusion and elitism into true community spaces is a long-term endeavor. Tacoma Arts Live must confront the multidimensional nature of accessibility in economic, geographic, racial and cultural terms, among others.
Achieving representational leadership and staffing remains a long term goal: our Board of Trustees consists of 32% people of color and 44% women; 24% of our 21 directors and managers are people of color and 62% women. Our youth-facing teaching artist staff is 50% people of color and 68% women and non-binary. That said, our executive directorial team reflects gender diversity, but not racial diversity, demonstrating an area for growth.
Tacoma Arts Live’s foundational values are essential to pursuing change. The theater allows us to explore the inner workings of being human, the pain and the joy; the light and the shadow. The arts play an enormous role in helping society challenge complacency, racism, inaction, and lack of social equity. Tacoma Arts Live will simultaneously build on past success and hold our organization accountable for improvement and more profound public service. It’s vital we intensify the spotlight on racism. The arts empower empathy and that’s how we will move into the future with our leadership team and our community.
As we strive to achieve our vision, here are Tacoma Arts Live’s commitments, which will be elevated by substantial investment of staff time, funds, and other resources:
- Our Board of Trustees and Staff will participate in an expansive 18-month Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative, which has been in planning since 2019. Working with external expert facilitators, the initiative will include an evaluation of current policies and practices, trainings for staff, recommendations for anti-racist practices in programs, operations, and hiring, and the implementation of a plan and measurement system for sustained improvements.
- We will renew Community Dialogues with marginalized communities to learn how to better interweave our structure and activities with their interests and needs.
- We will continue to expand the diversity of the artists that show up on our stages as well, as the curatorial team behind this artistry.
- We will increase access to events intended to challenge our community regarding the inequities of and violence against people of color, LGBTQA+, and others.
- We will continue commissioning playwrights to write new plays that will join the existing original productions in our Civil Rights Legacy series, which serves roughly 20,000 students and educators each year with engaging performances and learning resources that address issues of equity, civic engagement, and the historical legacies of communities of color
- We will participate in collective impact efforts locally, regionally, and nationally to confront racism and advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, alongside local and industry partners
- Using our Professional Regional Theater program and Education through the Arts resources, we will continue to address multidimensional accessibility to our services and venues, not only for the public, but for local artists and creatives who may not have had previous economic or cultural access to advancing grassroots efforts in theater, music, dance, and arts education.
- We will continue to lead our expansive Education through the Arts programs in a commitment to amplifiying diversity of youth voices through artistic expression, providing opportunities for the teaching and learning of Black, Indigenous, and people of color-centered art forms, and continuing to utilize the arts as a means of narrowing the opportunity gap.