QCA believes that art is a basic human right for all peoples,
and that when all artists thrive at the centrality of our communities, a full life is realized for all of us.

Why do you need a cultural equity statement?

Isn’t a mission statement enough?

The Queens Council on the Arts (QCA) believes meaningful progress towards a better world can be achieved only when an organization takes practical steps forward in addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion internally as well as externally.

Creating a cultural equity statement is the first step to focus peoples’ thinking and, for some, to have their very first conversations around these fundamental human rights.


The Diversity Committee of the QCA Junior Board

The Diversity Committee of the QCA Junior Board came together with the president of the QCA Senior Board in 2017 and spent time discussing what a cultural equity statement means to our organization and how we intend to use it. After further conversation and review, the QCA Senior Board voted to adopt 1 of 2 draft versions presented to them at the following board meeting.

As a result, every decision we make now reflects consideration of this statement whether it is about hiring, board recruitment, fundraising, community development, programming or what we’re serving at our next reception.

The Creative Conversation at the New York Tibetan Services Center in Jackson Heights

The Creative Conversation at the New York Tibetan Services Center in Jackson Heights

On Friday, April 27th, 2018, members of the Diversity Committee facilitated a Creative Conversation in Jackson Heights where artists came together to talk about what a cultural equity statement means to them and to their work.

Aryana Anderson, QCA Junior Board Member

Aryana Anderson, QCA Junior Board Member

How to create your own cultural equity statement

 Here are some ways to begin a conversation with a group of people that can open up a space to talk about what cultural equity means to each of us in our work:

Big Group

Together, set some basic ground rules for your discussion. Start by deciding what the group’s shared understandings are.

For example:

·                  Share the air

·                  Step up, step back

·                  Be open to working together

·                  Don’t be afraid to share what scares you

·                  Don’t apologize

·                  Challenge ideas, not people

·                  I statements

·                  Stay engaged, present, actively listening

·                  Respect

·                  Come with kindness

·                  Share your work

·                  There’s a lot of power in “No”

Next, pose some guiding questions to open a conversation.

For example:

·      Why is this conversation important for us to have in our field?

·      How do I represent my core values?

·      How do I as an artist create work that is an expression of human rights?

·      How do you find others to band with you?

·      How do we make ourselves known to our community and get to know them?

·      How can I bring this back to my organization?

Small Group

Within groups of 2-3 people, talk about this further and in more depth. You can use guiding questions such as:

·      How does this affect me and my work?

·      What would this look like for you or for your organization?

Next Steps

Have each small group share out what their top takeaways are. Ask these final questions:

·      What needs to happen?

·      What is one thing I can do tomorrow?

·      What questions do we still have?

We capture all of our Creative Conversations as podcasts and invite artists to do interviews afterwards. You can hear them on Soundcloud.

The Creative Conversation podcast interview

The Creative Conversation podcast interview

To make you meeting flow well, here is a list of things to bring:

·      Flip chart

·      Markers

·      Index cards

·      Post cards

·      Pizza (if you really want to knock it out of the park)


About the Author: Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer helps artists & creative people grow their careers with great grant writing strategies & mindsets she has developed over 15 years as an veteran grant panelist, grant maker & grant writer. Get her FREE Master Grant Strategy Worksheet and a weekly dose of insights from a grant reviewer’s point of view.

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