September 8, 2020
Dear Fellow Board Members in the Arts,
The quality of the light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives. -Audre Lorde, “Poetry Is Not a Luxury”
We believe that valuing Black Lives is foundational to contemporary art. To paraphrase Audre Lorde, art embodies the otherwise unexpressable, artists imagine the otherwise impossible, and through art, we live into possibilities that previously terrified us. Art is essential in affirming our shared humanity and on our journey toward equity.
We remember and honor the Black people–women, men, children, queer, transgender and disabled people–who have been unjustly killed by police.
In this moment, we have to be courageous. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different outcomes. We choose to try something new. We strive to be antiracist, first and foremost in terms of the community we serve, whose identities have led to their exclusion—historically and today—from our institutions. We became a majority ALAANA board a year ago, and we are committed to further efforts at inclusion. We have done some work, and have more work to do. Ultimately, we constantly reevaluate what we do so that we can be accountable to the people we serve. Progress is the only true signal that “the work” is being done.
Each of us is on a personal journey toward living an anti-racist life. As partners with Threewalls Team and Artists, we are committed to:
Self-awareness. We interrogate our own actions that reinforce systemic racism and seek to change them.
Vulnerability. We welcome critique as an opportunity for growth. We invite one another to push us individually and collectively to deconstruct systemic injustice.
Collaboration. We have legal and fiduciary responsibilities that we take seriously. AND, we serve Threewalls as part of the collective committed to a shared mission, not to wield power but to share it. We strive for a relationship with staff in which there is no fear; when an idea is hatched, there is no trepidatious thought, “how will the board react?” but rather an eager question, “how will they join us in the work?”
Radical change. Fundamental change is the only path to real equity. Gradual and incremental change have been excuses for reinforcing the status quo. We commit to embracing change that shakes the very ground we walk on.
The work is never done. For us at Threewalls, the work is to make sure equity and justice are at the core of everything we do. As a board, we are committed to serving ALANAA artists and always paying them for labor, we are committed to platforming artists’ voices that reflect the lived experiences of people rather than market-driven or modernist values, and we are committed to defining a new relationship between board and staff that empowers us to undo white supremacy together.
We often are exhausted, challenged, anxious. We often are activated, grateful, eager. This is hard, and we don’t have it all figured out. This statement is a call to action. Please join us.
Arnold J. Kemp
Colin D. Lord
Threewalls is always finding new ways to share our artist’s unique voices through exhibits, talks, and gatherings. We would like you to be the first to know about these opportunities.