Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility

Statement adopted by the Board of Directors, July 16, 2020
The Grand Marais Art Colony recognizes the arts as an inherent and vital aspect of our shared common life. The creation and experience of artistic expression contribute to both individual and community well-being. We believe in the ability to build connections and understanding through supporting everyone’s artistic expression no matter their: race, tribal affiliation, ethnicity, national origin, immigration / refugee status, age, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, socioeconomic background and / or the intersectionality of these identities.

GMAC acknowledges that systems and structures currently in place have historically marginalized and underserved many of those whom we wish to have as part of our shared common life.

We are committed to closing access gaps in the arts with urgency and accountability. We believe sustained impact requires authentic relationships and transformative work, and to this end we are deeply invested. It will take time, it will take thought, it will require that we act with intention and integrity.

We are committed to making inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) as much a part of our everyday operations as it is a part of the Art Colony’s mission. We believe that if we really want a flourishing organization, we can’t get there unless we are inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible.

Sounds great, but what does it mean and how do we do it?

Answering that takes far more understanding, effort, and actualization than simply beginning to use words such as ‘inclusion’, ‘diversity’, ‘equity’ and ‘accessibility.’ The full implication of these words implies a way of thinking and acting that’s different from business as usual.

To understand the forces that cause disparities in our communities, organizations and country, there is history to unravel and a need for us to take a thoughtful look at how race, tribal affiliation, ethnicity, national origin, immigration / refugee status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, disability status, geography, age and other forms of bias and oppression are embedded within the institutions and systems in our community, within the Art Colony, and within ourselves.

That means recognizing how privilege works as the flip side of bias and oppression, creating unspoken advantages for some communities over others. For us as an arts organization, it also means grappling with our identity in a sector where disparities can be profound. Ultimately, it means applying our learning as individuals and as an organization to make meaningful change in how we operate at the Grand Marais Art Colony.

We know this will be a continuing journey. Our thinking will continue to evolve. As we deepen our commitment to sustaining a flourishing, inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible organization, we have refined our working definition of IDEA to mean the existence of conditions where all people can reach their full potential in the arts.

While building on the organizational efforts already made under the umbrella of IDEA, GMAC will focus its resources to educate ourselves, modify our practices and shift our own organizational culture to challenge and address disparities as we move towards building and sustaining a more inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible arts sector.

A truly flourishing, inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible Art Colony will take all of our collective knowledge and commitment. And, as we redouble our effort to make this intent a reality, we expect it will be uncomfortable at times. We do not have all the answers. We will make mistakes. Nonetheless, this is important work that we must do.

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