Photo of male presenting dancer on stage at the NAMP conference

Acknowledging and Dismantling Inequities Inside Americans For The Arts
Americans for the Arts staff and board collaborate to address inequities in our policies, systems, programs, and services, and to regularly report on organization progress.

Hiring Policies – We have reviewed both the specific policies governing human resources and the processes by which those policies are developed. This has included adjustments to policies, practices, and outreach related to hiring and retention. To reach more candidates, we have expanded our methods of outreach, educated staff to ensure equity in interviewing, and adjusted the way we craft our job descriptions and hiring notices, including the removal of education requirements from most positions. We request and collect voluntary demographic information from every applicant, and believe we have seen an increase in the demographic diversity of candidates, including in terms of race, gender identity, political persuasion, disability, and age.

Policy Change – We have updated policies related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including: harassment, work-from-home policy, parental rights, and others. In the process of updating these policies, we have also refined our process to make the process more open to all staff. We implemented an open comment period during the review process of the Employee Handbook and have conducted staff workshops to discuss various HR policy, including retirement benefits and advancement policies.

Accessibility – A major thrust of the last two years has been to lay out policies and practices to increase the accessibility our website and our in-person events to people with disabilities and people for whom English is not their primary language. We have worked in conjunction with a volunteer advisory committee made up of members with disabilities for some of this work.

  • All new web content will meet or exceed 508 compliance standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. View our web acccessibility statement.
  • In terms of our in-person events, we have redesigned our on-site registration area, integrated wheelchair-accessible counters, widened aisles and redesigned session set-ups to ensure people with mobility issues can safely access seating, implemented and repeatedly enforced a microphone policy to support those with hearing impairment, distributed guidelines for accessible visual presentations and handouts, and introduced live captioning of all plenary speeches and broadcast breakout sessions.
  • We have seen a 500% increase in attendance at our Annual Convention of people with disabilities since 2015.

Vendor and Contract Selection – We have come to recognize that a major tool for the organization in terms of pursuing equity sits with our financial capital. We have prioritized equity in our vendor and contractor selection by researching beyond price quotes to determine prospective vendors’ commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. By 2021, all vendors and contractors will either have to have their own publicly-accessible diversity, equity, and inclusion statement (and to demonstrate adherence) or will have to agree to abide by Americans for the Arts Statement on Cultural Equity.

Fees for Service – We have begun to address financial inequity in our pricing models through a two-year design thinking-driven process to rethink the experience of accessing Americans for the Arts’ programming and resources for arts professionals from all economic and demographic backgrounds.

  • Americans for the Arts has used general operating funds to underwrite $150,000 in scholarships for our events since 2016.
  • We also created, in an effort to make our membership more accessible to low income artists and arts administrators, a $30 digital-only membership.