For over half a century Americans for the Arts has been working to advance the understanding that the arts transform people’s lives. But there is much work still to be done. In order to ensure our ability to continue to do this important work for many years to come, we work toward our own sustainability. By fulfilling our values of creativity and innovation, diversity and inclusion, collaboration and community building, integrity, and access to the arts for all, Americans for the arts is on track to becoming an Employer of Choice. By becoming an Employer of Choice we hope to:
- Increase staff retention and institutional knowledge
- Produce better internal and external programming for our staff and stakeholders
- Attract the most qualified candidates that fit into our organizational culture
What are we doing to become an Employer of Choice?
Open Door Policy
Americans for the Arts managers maintain an open-door policy and actively works to promote a culture that fosters innovative ideas and collaboration. Our employees participate on cross-departmental teams to support our programs and projects. We strongly believe in career and professional development and encourage staff to seek opportunities to enrich their interests and work. We post all of our positions internally allowing employees to examine their own career growth and to pursue their paths. We also offer a business casual dress environment.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Americans for the Arts considers it an ongoing priority to develop a work environment built on the premises of equity, diversity, and inclusion that encourages and enforces:
- Respectful communication and cooperation between all employees.
- Teamwork, collaboration, participation, and the representation of multiple perspectives.
- Work/life balance through flexible work schedules to accommodate employees’ varying needs.
- Openness to difference, and to honest attempts to better understand alternative points of view.
Several of our staff members have reflected on our work and what diversity, equity and inclusion means for the work we do for our stakeholders and our organization internally through our ARTSblog. Here is what a few of them had to say:
“We’re stretching to make sure to find all of those qualified candidates who we used to sometimes miss. And making people understand, in some cases, that we are not hiring the person who was just here—that we’re instead looking for someone who is going to push us forward and offer a different set of perspectives—that’s hard. But Americans for the Arts cannot grow if we all look alike, think alike, see alike, smell alike. We need the different perspectives. And it starts with helping our hiring managers buying into this idea that we’re broadening, improving.” (Read the full Blog)
- Chelsy Briggs, Human Resources Manager
“I understand why people steer clear of the topics of equity, diversity and inclusion. But, to be honest, as America—and the world—becomes more and more polarized, we really must have these conversations, no matter how uncomfortable they will be… This staff retreat was not easy. There was disagreement, confusion, anger and even some tears. The conversation was difficult and messy, but the result was better empathy and a commitment to equity.” (Read the full Blog)
- Jay Dick, Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs
“I’ve been here for seven years, and I didn’t know what floor some people were on three months ago. And that’s shameful. So I see where I need to step out of my own comfort zone—which is a place I didn’t even really realize I was in. You know, you come in, you do your work—but it has to be more than that. The organization is a family, and they’re all relationships. I have a relationship with everyone in here, and it’s my obligation and duty to build those relationships and help sustain them.” (Read the full Blog)
- Kathy Jennings, Accounting Associate
It is our hope that over the coming years our work will result in increased visibility, dialogue, case-making, professional development, and advocacy leading to greater appreciation for the impact that the arts have on America. By effectively communicating the transformative power of the arts to decision-makers, influencers in the public and private sectors, artists, arts administrators and the general public, we will change the way the arts are viewed and supported and work toward a better America.