Easthampton City Arts is sorrowful and horrified by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Mychael Johnson, and so many others at the hands of police. We stand with our Black and Afro-Latinx community members and neighbors—in mourning and in action.
We acknowledge the immense complexity of this moment and the tremendous, humbling opportunity for humility that it presents—to reflect, to unlearn, and to commit to recalibrating organizational and municipal choices and actions so that they are deeply and explicitly aligned with—and contributing to—social and racial justice. We recognize that we can only do this through honest reflection, renewed commitment, and the active practice of cultivating existing relationships and building new relationships that serve to center the voices and experiences of Black and Afro-Latinx artists, Indigenous artists, and artists of Color.
Easthampton City Arts is an imperfect and evolving organization. Over the years, we have fallen short in taking action to dismantle social barriers. We acknowledge this, accept responsibility, and recognize the impacts of our actions and inactions. We stand together with renewed intention and commitment toward transformative social and organizational change as a means to create new opportunities in our galleries, at our festivals, through our artist grants program, and in our shared public spaces—to celebrate and elevate the voices, visions, histories, and perspectives of artists of Color and other marginalized and oppressed communities.
As a public arts-based organization with a core community focus, we also recognize this opportunity to ask, explore, and invite new questions regarding what art and community mean, what they can mean, and most importantly, what they can do—both within the City of Easthampton and as an organization that is here to serve, engage, and participate within a much broader, regional public.
We are committed to this work—and we invite your insights, inquiry, and participation.
*Please note that the Easthampton City Arts Coordinating Committee meets each and every month. Because we are a municipal entity of the City of Easthampton, all of our meetings are open public meetings by law. We encourage and welcome members of the public to attend and to contribute. While our meetings normally take place on the 4th Thursday at 5:30pm, our next meeting is scheduled for Thursday June 18th at 5:30pm (3rd Thursday). Agendas can be found at www.easthamptonma.gov. All meetings begin with “public speak.” In the weeks and months to come, we will be discussing how we will implement the intentions and actions stated above.
We have incredible local resources in the Pioneer Valley addressing racism and social justice. Here’s a list of organizations to become familiar with, learn from, and support, if you aren’t already. Please share these resources through your channels.