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A Call to Action

Greetings, friends. It would have been a challenge this month not to address the attack that has been leveled against the arts in the U.S. Among other terrifying proposed cuts in President Trump's recent budget, the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities are officially facing elimination.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu released a statement indicating that her agency is "disappointed" but that this "is a first step in a very long budget process." 

In response to a recent interview given by David Marcus, a senior contributor to The Federalist and the Artistic Director of a theatre company in NYC, Teresa Eyring of Theatre Communications Group wrote: "When we advocate for the NEA, we advocate for a country that believes recouping 'some corner of the universe for our understanding and enlargement' is essential to our democratic ideals. It means we believe that the town-hall is just as valuable as the marketplace, and that civilization means something more than commerce." Read Eyring's full letter here

Regardless of the NEA's funding capabilities (which are limited, at $146 million), the federal agency's existence is indicative of the value placed on the arts and culture in the U.S. Losing this agency could not only spell disaster for organizations that rely on NEA funding for vital operating and programmatic support, but also cast a severe shadow on the prioritization of the arts in this country.

If this is an issue about which you feel passionately, we encourage you to speak out however you can in the coming weeks. Here are a few ways to take action: 

  • Go to Americans for the Arts's Action Center and send a customizable message to your elected representatives in Congress, urging them to oppose the Administration's attempt to eliminate funding to the NEA.
  • Call the White House to register your opposition to elimination of the NEA: 202-456-1111.
  • Write and submit op-eds and letters to the editor to your local newspapers in support of the NEA. Include examples of the impact of NEA grants on your theatre and your community. For background and examples of talking points, please see Theatre Communications Group's Arts Advocacy Day NEA Issue Brief.

As we know, artists are and have always been leaders in social justice movements. In order for artists to continue to thrive, we need to maintain a strong arts ecosystem in this country. 

Sending strength to you, wherever you are,
the artEquity team



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March 27, 2017
World Theatre Day

April 9, 2017

Mega Marcha Dallas

What's Happening
Women of Color in Leadership Retreat
If it is true that women hold up half the sky, then how much of the sky do women of color hold up? This is the question that was posed to the twenty women of color arts leaders who convened in Santa Barbara from March 9-12 at the La Casa de Maria Retreat Center. The convening's goal was to underscore that at a time when political stakes are high, communities of color are under attack, and arts funding is being eliminated, women of color artist activists are being asked to provide more and more intersectional leadership. 

As an acknowledgment of their past contributions and the hard work ahead, artEquity brought together women leaders from across the field and nation to celebrate them and to let them know they are seen, valued, and needed. 

Highlights from the convening included: a visit to the only women of color run winery in Solvang, Rideau Vineyards; dining at the renowned Trattorie Mollie restaurant in Montecito owned by Ethiopian born Chef Mollie; and a meeting with the Mayor of Santa Barbara, Helene Schneider, who proclaimed March 11 "artEquity Women of Color in Leadership Day!"

The women agreed that there is much work ahead, and the time together helped them to renew and affirm the importance of their shared affinity as women of color leaders in the arts.

artEquity Alumni Spotlight
Daniel Jáquez, Seena Hodges, and Quita Sullivan at artEquity facilitator training 2016.
Jacqueline Lawton's Intelligence at Arena Stage
Jacqueline Lawton (artEquity '15) opened her world premiere play Intelligence at Arena Stage last month. Inspired by true events, Intelligence is a fictionalized account of a covert operative who, tasked with protecting the national security of the United States post-9/11, is racing to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when the unthinkable happens. With the country at war, her cover is blown and she must navigate a media frenzy, the CIA’s search for answers and her diplomat husband’s dogged pursuit of the truth. Intelligence is a political thriller that explores the cost of deception and the consequences of speaking truth to power.

Read more and get tickets (through April 9!) here.

artEquity Cohort Collaborations
Mei Ann Teo (artEquity '15) and Wu Chen Khoo (artEquity '16) are currently working together on a production of The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin by Jessica Huang at the History Theatre in St. Paul, MN (Mei Ann as director, and Wu Chen as lighting designer). The play follows the true story of Harry Chin, one of the many Chinese nationals who landed in the U.S. through a loophole in the Chinese Exclusion Act. Haunted by the ghosts of his past and provoked by the curiosity of his daughter, Harry is forced to confront his buried secrets. Through leaps of time and space, we experience the abhorrent conditions at Seattle Immigration Station, Harry’s longing for the life he left in China, and the complications of love in a new land. Jessica Huang’s powerful new drama explores the personal and political repercussions of making a group of people “illegal.”

Read more and purchase tickets (through April 9!) here.

A New Venture for Tiffany Vega-Gibson
Tiffany Vega-Gibson (artEquity '15, who was recently married, congrats!) relocated to New Orleans in August 2016, and launched a new consulting business called La Vega Management, LLC. Through LVM, Tiffany provides performing arts management and producing, event planning, and equity, diversity and inclusion facilitation services. One of La Vega Management's first projects is the management of a tour of Free Jujube Brown by Psalmayene 24. Find out more about the play here, and contact Tiffany to learn more about LVM, or if you are interested in booking Jujube Brown at your venue. 

Copyright © 2017 artEquity, All rights reserved.

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