A Collective Statement from Black, Brown and POC Dallas Theatres

FOUR DALLAS THEATRES FORM THE BIPOC ARTS COALITION: “WE ARE TOO IMPORTANT TO FAIL”

“Since our inceptions, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) arts organizations and artists have provided grassroots support to our communities, distinguishing ourselves from the arts groups simply asking for relief funds to keep producing. BIPOC artists provide services that support Public Safety, Health, Mental Health, Youth Development, Academics, Education, Cultural Competency and Community Building. Simply stated: We are too important to fail.”
– The Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Arts Coalition
(Founding organizations – Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Cara Mía Theatre, Soul Rep Theatre, Teatro Dallas)

Dallas, TX (July 13, 2020) – The BIPOC Arts Coalition announces its formation to support BIPOC communities that have been historically underserved and under- resourced – the very communities that today are disproportionately affected by COVID- 19, in terms of both community health and economic impact.

The goals of the BIPOC Arts Coalition are to provide a vision and advocacy platform for antiracism, equitable funding and structural support for culturally-specific artists and performance groups in Dallas. Although the entire arts ecosystem has experienced losses during COVID-19, BIPOC arts groups and artists have historically suffered from underfunding, like the communities we represent. Our BIPOC arts organizations and artists therefore run the risk of continued underfunding at this time. Nevertheless, BIPOC arts organizations and artists are the most prepared to support communities most affected by COVID-19 and systemic racism.

In order to sustain our work with the communities we serve, the BIPOC Arts Coalition recommends the following actions to support the work of BIPOC artists and arts organizations.

From the City of Dallas, the BIPOC Arts Coalition recommends:

  • For the City of Dallas’s Fiscal Year (FY) 20-21, fully fund the neighborhood City of Dallas Cultural Centers serving BIPOC communities
  • Maintain FY 19-20 funding levels of BIPOC arts organizations into FY 20-21 in the Cultural Organization’s Program (COP)
  • Due to the overwhelming response to a recent City of Dallas grant program for ALAANA or BIPOC artists, increase FY 20-21 funding levels for neighborhood arts programs from FY 19-20 in order to increase service to BIPOC communities in need and support the growing number of BIPOC working artists seeking City support. (These programs include Pop-up cultural centers, CAP and ArtsActivate among other new initiatives. Funding and contracts should go primarily to BIPOC-led organizations and artists.)
  • Funding support for facilities for BIPOC Arts Organizations that own or manage buildings.

From the philanthropic community, the BIPOC Arts Coalition recommends to:

  • Rectify historic underfunding of BIPOC artists and arts organizations
  • Provide multi-year funding and investment into endowments of BIPOC arts organizations
  • Provide funding support for BIPOC Arts Organizations that own or manage buildings
  • Provide funding support for Health Insurance for BIPOC individual artists and staff at BIPOC arts organization

“Research has shown that national distribution of arts funding flows disproportionately to large institutions, which puts culturally specific organizations at a disadvantage. Culturally specific organizations are affected by the same structural racism and inequities that affect the people and communities they serve.”
– Zannie Voss, Director of SMU DataArts and Jill Robinson, CEO of TRG Arts from the study, “In It for the Long Haul

CARA MÍA THEATRE’S MISSION
To inspire and engage people to uplift their communities through transformative Latinx theatre, multicultural youth arts experiences and community action.

BISHOP ARTS THEATRE CENTER’S MISSION
To cultivate a diverse and vibrant arts community while creating sustainable opportunities for local and emerging artists through performances and education.

SOUL REP THEATRE COMPANY’S MISSION
Soul Rep Theatre Company exists to provide quality transformative Black theater that enlightens the imagination, the spirit, and the soul.

TEATRO DALLAS’ MISSION
Teatro Dallas is committed to the cultural empowerment of the Latinx community by representing our varied experiences, voices, and artistic expressions. Through high quality theatrical programming Teatro Dallas employs the power of theater to celebrate our diverse traditions while strengthening our community.