Black Lives Matter


Black Lives Matter. It is incumbent upon us to act accordingly, and to identify those ways that we, as a leading cultural organization, can stop perpetuating pervasive and systemic white supremacist practices and lead through our actions. 

Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) is committed to doing the hard work of dismantling even the most subtle forms of white supremacy in our organization, in our practices, and in the work we do to help make Boston a place where ALL artists can live and thrive.

Starting in 2021, Boston Center for the Arts will commit significant resources and time to the hard work of dismantling systems and practices that inhibit our ability to function as an anti-racist organization. We recognize that this work needs to be deep and long-term. The steps outlined below are just the beginning of this work.

Perform a comprehensive Racial Equity Audit

BCA commits to retaining a qualified consultancy via a competitive RFP process to perform a comprehensive Racial Equity Audit in 2021. This audit will include a full review of BCA policies, procedures, and culture including but not limited to employee recruitment, hiring, and training; residency application processes and code of conduct; curatorial practices, organizational structure and compensation, and the composition and representation of our Board of Directors.

Decentralize Decision-Making Power

We recognize that patriarchal and hierarchical systems are inherently racist. We commit to decentralizing the decision-making power within the organization by re-instituting the Team Management Structure, which will tackle and solve for institutional challenges through cross-organizational teams led by staff. We will implement a full organizational restructure in 2021 that will include: 

  • A comprehensive salary survey to identify and rectify pay inequities for BIPOC staff
  • A critical review of staff retention and a commitment to investing in resources to better understand BIPOC staff needs
  • A complete overhaul of our recruitment and hiring processes through an anti-racist lens that includes training for staff in management and hiring positions
  • The creation of a senior leadership team that reflects a rich mix of backgrounds and lived experiences
  • A complete review of employee benefits that support and create pathways to success and advancement. For instance, annual stipends for staff professional development
  • Clear job descriptions, responsibilities and the role of each staff member alongside the BCA strategic plan 
  • Adopting an anti-racist lens in making decisions. Employing a line of inquiry to ensure we are prioritizing our anti-racist commitments
  • Providing regularly scheduled pathways and structures for anonymous critical feedback 
  • Adding anti-racist accountability to performance evaluations. Holding staff and leaders accountable to acknowledging mistakes and constantly checking ourselves for fragility
  • Providing space and time for staff to continue the development of staff-led EDAI education 

Racial Equity Team

A Racial Equity Team will be formed in the first quarter of 2021 with members of our staff, Board of Directors, and affiliated artists to work with the auditors to develop a comprehensive Racial Equity Roadmap and hold the organization accountable for its implementation with actionable, time-based goals and checkpoints.

Commitment to Learning and Unlearning

BCA commits to making space for continuous learning. In 2020 we invested in the Cultural Equity Learning Community (CELC) for every member of our staff. We will commit to an annual investment in Racial Equity and Sexual Harassment Training for staff, Board of Directors, and resident artists starting in 2021. 

We will ask ourselves the following questions:

  • How can we distribute power differently so that it is shared more diffusely across the organization?
  • How can we be open to learning on the job, making mistakes, and trying new things? 
  • How can we have a climate or culture that makes it easy for people to learn and change?
  • How can we help ourselves learn to talk about very complex issues, especially where we have very little shared experience?
  • How can we make visible and value different forms of knowledge within our organization? 
  • How can we make time to reflect on our ways of doing and thinking?
  • How can we empower staff to propose solutions to organizational challenges?

Continual Re-Evaluation of our Racial Equity Strategy

We commit to being a people-first, learning organization, drawing on the connections that staff and Board have developed with BIPOC artists and community leaders and we will work on slow and genuine trust-building, placing value in long-term sustainable relationships, not prioritizing immediate, performative results.