Putting more artists in the spotlight: That’s the goal of a new cultural equity plan rolled out by the New Haven arts community to get more local artists, from all walks of life, the support they need to flourish.
From the grand stages of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas to the Shubert and Long Wharf theaters to community arts events, arts and culture in New Haven are part of the city’s deep history.
The Cultural Equity Plan is designed to increase support for local talent in the broader arts landscape.
“It’s up to us, the City of New Haven, to do the job, to be held accountable, to make sure that when we get more resources, it doesn’t just go downtown, it goes to the different pockets of our city,” said City of New Haven Artistic Director Adriane Jefferson.
It was unveiled at a Dixwell Q House launch event and the art included is Puma Simone and Salwa Abdussabur.
“This document is a promise from the city, it’s a promise to the artistic community and to our community that we will elevate artists, that we will fund artists, that we will seek out artists,” said Abdussabur, the founder of Blackhaven. The group obtains resources for artists throughout the state.
Abdusabur worked on the team that created the plan, and she’s excited to see a larger scale support effort.
“Because art is abundant, art is inherently inclusive and equitable,” Abdusabur said.
The document outlines several ways to achieve equity, including having community conversations about the needs of artists, such as arts spaces, housing, and health care. It also discusses policies for what they say they deserve, like getting paid fairly.
“This document recognizes the international festival of arts and ideas when it takes place on the New Haven Green, but it also recognizes the knitter, the sewer, the artist who creates in his home space who may only be a table in his dining room, or in their bedroom,” said Patrick Dunn, executive director of the New Haven Pride Center.
It is the state’s first plan to bring together artists and arts stakeholders to strengthen relationships and address disparities in the arts community.
“It’s rooted in the voices and experiences of its residents, so the connection is really important,” said Daniel Fitzmaurice of the Greater New Haven Arts Council.
The plan’s creators say there are places and people already doing the equity and inclusion work. There is now a roadmap for every performance, no matter how big or small, a place for positivity and expression.
“My hope for this plan is that New Haven is a brighter, more colorful New Haven,” Abdusabur said.