One Year Anniversary and Update/Report to the Community:
As we close in on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, the Manitou Art Center staff and board of directors are reflecting on our work toward fighting white supremacy and expanding access and inclusion at our facility.
Last year, we stated:
The Manitou Art Center recognizes systemic racism and centuries of oppression against the Black community. We acknowledge the MAC has not done enough in its role as an advocate. We commit to working harder in the fight against racism, inequity, and intolerance.
During this time, and in the midst of a global pandemic, we mindfully and intentionally set about to develop a plan that we could begin to implement. We wanted concrete actions that would help move the MAC forward. It was our desire to be not only a better advocate, but to take an active role in making a difference through our partnerships, collaborations, galleries and programs.
Among our finalized and ongoing deliverables:
1. Our main entryway in building 513 has been updated with a goal to make it informative and welcoming to all, encouraging all who enter to engage. This is an ongoing deliverable, as we have a few elements yet to add.
2. The red door in building 513 is our ADA entrance. We have ensured that it is clearly marked, easily accessible and welcoming. This is also considered a work in progress, as we are adding an automated door and a few design elements.
3. In an effort to reach out to and engage the wider Pikes Peak region community, we are sending out “welcome” letters to local neighborhood newspapers. In these letters, we are letting readers know that we are open for business, and inviting them to come learn about what a resource the MAC can be for them. This is also ongoing, as we are working on reaching out to several publications.
4. We are making progress in casting our awareness net wider and keeping the community up-to-date on opportunities such as the 1st Amendment Gallery and the recent Community Development Block Grant. Getting the word out to a wide variety of artists about participating in the CDBG and assisting the in applying has been a priority.
5. Part of our plan of action was to take the conscious step to truly examine our programs and critical decisions and discuss inclusion each time, before making that decision or signing off on that program.
6. Putting inspirational words about diversity, equity, and inclusion into action is one thing we hope to do with the quotes that have recently been installed in various locations throughout the MAC.
7. We were excited to be a part of the Solidarity Mural project, providing prime space on the front of the 515 building for two large Solidarity Project murals.
8. One of the most inclusive actions to come out of the MAC/PPLD co-location partnership is that every patron who has a PPLD library card now has access to every makerspace at the MAC during the Library’s hours of operation. For patrons who want expanded access, they are welcome to join the MAC’s Makerspace membership.
9. Most of our 9 bathrooms are gender-inclusive.
10. Recently, as we have opened up to the public in partnership with the Library, we have been developing a series of how to videos for the makerspaces. In an effort to create maximum access, we have ensured that each video is close-captioned.
11. In emails and virtual meetings, MAC staff has begun to use preferred pronouns (Pronouns: she/her/hers. Please tell me yours. (What's this?))
12. When the Manitou Arts, Culture and Heritage (MACH) Tier 2 grant funding opened up, we assisted several outside artists and organizations in applying for a grant, even serving as a fiscal sponsor for some.
In our “needs work” category:
1. As with many boards, the challenge is to have a diverse and inclusive board of directors. The Manitou Art Center board of directors has made it a goal to mindfully expand the board in a more diverse and inclusive fashion. Interested in joining the MAC Board of Directors?
“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-Corona existence was never normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.”