Friday, August 18, 2017

On August 12, 2017, the fate of a public art piece—a monument to Confederate general Robert E. Lee—became the focal point for a violent and racism-fueled clash in Charlottesville, VA. In the wake of those events, many communities across the United States are grappling with the existence and legacy of divisive monuments, and local, state, and federal policymakers, including President Trump, are weighing in on the fate of these monuments.

Americans for the Arts strongly supports diversity, equity, and inclusion, and stands against racism, bigotry, and hatred.

Americans for the Arts believes that, as more communities enter dialogue about what these divisive public artworks say about their residents and their beliefs, these art pieces can help facilitate positive community transformation.

Americans for the Arts supports ongoing community dialogue around truth, reconciliation, and removal and replacement of the various artistic and cultural vestiges of white supremacy and racism in the United States, and the installation of monuments commemorating narratives of emancipation, shared strength, and equity. We recommend that local arts agencies and other arts institutions join these dialogues in concert with affected communities.

To support a full creative life for all, Americans for the Arts commits to championing policies and practices of cultural equity that empower a just, inclusive, equitable nation.

Americans for the Arts releases a Statement on the Intersection of the Arts, History, and Community Dialogue today, which includes links to resources and tools for communities as well as information on a members-only briefing on this topic on Tuesday, August 22.


Photo, above right: On July 15, 2017, after years of proposals and community dialogue, a statue of Maggie L. Walker was unveiled in Richmond, VA. Walker was the first African American woman to own a bank in the United States and was an important figure in her community in Richmond. Her statue is just over a mile from the Robert E. Lee memorial on Monument Avenue, which is home to five Confederate monuments.