Letter: Collaborative needs to do more for social justice

Posted 7/1/20

To the editor:

The Collaborative hasn’t done enough.

Our organization has always stated we are open to all, that we don’t censor or jury art, and the only thing we don’t allow …

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Letter: Collaborative needs to do more for social justice

Posted

To the editor:

The Collaborative hasn’t done enough.

Our organization has always stated we are open to all, that we don’t censor or jury art, and the only thing we don’t allow is hate. And that’s been true, but The Collaborative has not done enough to advocate for and support artists of color, to let marginalized, disenfranchised, and oppressed peoples know we are a safe place for their artistic expression, to share and affirm their distinct histories, to have their voices heard. We've always said we accept anyone, and we have.  We’ve accepted anyone who felt comfortable to reach out to us. 

We are making an explicit commitment to educate ourselves on how we as people and non-profit organizations are complicit in upholding systems of institutional racism. We will do this by:

  • Expanding our partnerships to better reflect the diversity of the arts and artists throughout Rhode Island.
  • Working to build a board and staff of diverse backgrounds, voices, histories, identities and stories.
  • Creating a three year plan that looks to build policies and procedures through the lens of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  The intent of this plan is to research best practices. understand the community we serve, and create a living document that grows through time.
  • Continuing to demand racial, economic and environmental justice.

Equity, diversity and access to art and education opportunities will be a critical part of our ongoing work. Our priority is to be better. To listen to, advocate for and partner with diverse communities in order to amplify and present artists, works, and content that celebrates multiple perspectives and embraces difficult conversations.

Please reach out to us at any time, for any reason. We are here and we are listening.

The Collaborative staff

Uriah Donnelly, executive director

Sandy MacDonald, gallery coordinator

Board of directors: Sierra Barter Terry, chair; Lauren Lake, co-chair; Sally Turner, treasurer; Adam Robertson; Tamara Kaplan

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.