» Equity Planning for Arts & Culture

The Roanoke Arts Commission is charged with overseeing arts and cultural planning in the community. With the 2011 Arts & Cultural Plan.about 80% accomplished, the community has changed much since coming together to develop it. While it’s important to develop the next plan, in the next 18 months, we’ll operate in a hybrid state, continuing to pursue the goals of a vibrant economy, livable neighborhoods, and lifelong learning opportunities for all while updating strategies in a new context.

The Commission’s Planning and Evaluation committee has been busy over the past year exploring the next steps in that process, specifically focusing on the RAC’s role in making Roanoke a more equitable and just community.

  • The commission debriefed lessons learned in partnering with Urban Arts Project in the July 2020 End Racism Now street mural.
  • The commitee reviewed recent arts and cultural plans from across the country, specifically those with an emphases on equity.
  • Virginia Tech’s Masters in Fine Arts program in Arts Leadership, led by Amanda Nelson, undertook an engagement and outreach study for the Roanoke Arts Commission this fall that’s helping to shape our next steps.
  • We are shifting the organizing structure of our planning to directly mirror the six themes of Roanoke’s newly adopted CITY PLAN 2040. One of the themes, Interwoven Equity is already focus for our FY 2021 work.
  • We had an FY21 collection goal of and budget for purchasing new two dimensional work by contemporary artists of color. We have purchase four new pieces so far by Bryce Cobbs and Robert Pennix.
  • We participated in the Roanoke Change Academy, and posted our local anti-racism resources on our website.
  • We partnered with Roanoke Public Libraries in the WE ARE ART Rap Cypher, which has received more than 20,000 views.
  • Along with our arts and culture organizations, we joined the city’s human service organizations to set the stage for greater individual and collective action toward greater equity in the community by doing implicit bias training. Four members of our team participated in the training provided by Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC).
  • In April, we’re going to begin training in equity planning for organizations, also with VCIC.
  • In Spring 2021, the Roanoke Arts Commission and the Taubman Museum of Art are hosting a statewide conversation, The Art of Equity, focusing on how the arts can play a key role community.  Watch for the invitation soon. 

Published by Douglas Charles Jackson

Roanoke VA based writer and community coach.

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