Deonte Griffin Quick is a professional actor. He fell in love (and fall in love with) the arts administration – the business side of the arts industry – as his career progressed. Quick said he and other art administrators of color have been having conversations about making art industries more inclusive.
It’s a conversation that artists of color for generations. And this is the impetus behind the creation of the Administrators of the color of New Jersey arts and culture (NJACAC), a network of professional arts administrators of color fighting for equity, diversity and inclusion within the Garden State arts community, the organization said. The group was founded in the fall of 2019.
“The idea of even giving birth to these color network administrators was because, once I got into administration, there weren’t a lot of people who looked like me,” said Quick, head of programs and services for the New Jersey Theater Alliance. “(I wanted to) have a community and have a space with people that I can connect with and identify with as a young black man.”
The cohort is designed to empower self-identified people of color, while providing a safe space to connect, professional development opportunities and a platform to share their expertise, experiences and creativity. It has nearly 150 members.
“We’re trying to open the door to some (resources) that people wouldn’t have had access to on their own,” said Vincent Hall, associate member of ArtPride New Jersey and member of NJACAC.
In monthly meetings, members discuss issues such as inclusive hiring, pay equity, funding opportunities, and building resources for entrepreneurs of color. There are also conversations about how artists can emerge stronger from the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s essential that people of color are at the table for some of these great conversations. And the arts need to be part of the conversation when we look at the ecosystem as a whole, ”said Quick. “We’re one of the driving forces behind our economy in the state … so it’s hard to talk about rebound and recovery without thinking about how we generate revenue for the state … whatever (by) dance, theater, music, visual arts. “
A 2015 study by Antonio C. Cuyler, published by Grantmakers in the Arts, found that arts management personnel do not proportionately reflect the diversity of the American population.
“I believe that as we continue to work on things as a partnership, we will only continue to grow… and help people have better access to information,” Hall said.
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Tennyson Donyèa can be reached at [email protected].