The mission of New Village Arts is to create adventurous artistic experiences to awaken the human spirit. We provide:
a collaborative and inspiring home for performing and visual artists
a forum for laughter, discussion, and deeper thinking within our community
a training ground for future generations of art-makers and art-lovers
At New Village Arts we value an inclusive community, unique voices, innovative thinkers, and art that reflects a wide range of identities, histories, ideas, and beliefs. Our mission is to collaborate and inspire – however, we have sometimes fallen short of our mission when it comes to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) artists, staff, audiences, and community members. We recognize that throughout NVA’s 20-year history we were not always successful in creating an equitable and respectful environment due to inherent bias and systemic racism.
Over the last several years, we have striven to increase BIPOC representation onstage and off, but we recognize that these efforts have come much later than they should have. We are deeply sorry for the pain or trauma we have caused within our organization and our theatre community at large.
We credit the authors of the We See You White American Theatre documents for exposing and challenging the ways in which American theatre supports and perpetuates racist practices and structures, and we recognize that as a Primarily White Institution (PWI) we have benefitted from the unpaid intellectual and emotional labor put into these documents by their BIPOC authors.
We further recognize that this work is part of a larger narrative and a need for reform throughout American theatre in general. In this statement, we are focusing specifically on BIPOC artists and community members; that does not, however, dismiss the intersection of sexism, ableism, ageism, heteronormativity, gender binarism and transphobia, which likewise have no home at New Village Arts. A forthcoming intersectional Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) statement will address how we will achieve our goal of radical inclusion.
Theatre is the most collaborative of the arts, and requires a multitude of voices to achieve its goals. Racism and white toxicity are barriers to this collaborative spirit. To truly realize our mission, we must confront our history of complicity in the pervasive racist structures within American theatre, and we must become a boldly anti-racist organization.
Here are the steps we are taking to address our shortcomings and live up to the goals and aspirations of our mission.
FOSTERING CULTURAL COMPETENCY WITHIN OUR ORGANIZATION
We acknowledge that New Village Arts and North County San Diego is on the unceded land of the Payómkawichum (Luiseño) and Kumeyaay peoples. We further acknowledge that NVA was founded upon exclusions and erasures of many Indigenous people, including those who are the traditional Custodians and First People of the land on which we work, play, gather, share, and learn.
- A comprehensive and honest land acknowledgement will be developed in conversation with local native communities, and will be visible in the lobby, appear in our programs and on our website, and be given during opening night curtain speeches and first rehearsals.
We commit to creating a safe and anti-racist environment for BIPOC artists, staff, board members, patrons, volunteers, and students.
- We are partnered with EPOCH Education and SRPro Consulting to continue required training programs for all our staff, board, artists, ushers, and other personnel.
- Beginning in July 2020, full-time NVA staff have been required to attend weekly EDI training sessions.
- Regularly-scheduled staff-wide EDI training will continue indefinitely.
We commit to fair and equitable acknowledgement and recognition of BIPOC artists’ work and contributions to our organization. We will:
- hire BIPOC marketing consultants to ensure cultural competency and accurate representation in publicity materials;
- obtain permission from actors before using photos that are over 3 years old;
- take active steps to expand our audience base;
- insist upon responsible criticism from our local reviewers, to ensure that all artists’ work is critiqued through an anti-racist, radically inclusive, culturally appropriate lens;
- cultivate our relationships with BIPOC press to ensure a more inclusive pool of reviewers.
We commit to applying a greater standard of cultural care in our productions. We will:
- ensure sufficient materials and implement culturally sensitive procedures for hair, makeup, lighting, and costuming;
- hire culturally specific counselors, advisors, intimacy facilitators, and other consultants that a production may require.
We commit to a safe and anti-racist environment for BIPOC audience members.
- The company will be trained in compassionate dialogue and bystander intervention.
- Volunteer ushers will be required to complete annual online training with on-site reminders during the House Manager’s pre-show briefing.
We commit to removing barriers to attendance, including prohibitive cost and safety concerns, and actively engaging BIPOC audiences.
We will curate our list of community partners to be more inclusive of BIPOC individuals and organizations.
EQUITABLE WORKING CONDITIONS & HIRING PRACTICES
New Village Arts has a zero-tolerance policy for racist behavior and speech.
- Any staff member, patron, artist, board member, volunteer, or other stakeholder exhibiting this behavior will be immediately removed from the premises.
- An investigation will be launched if the person is an employee, board member, or artist with NVA.
We are committed to increasing BIPOC representation in all aspects of NVA, more accurately representing the global majority.
- Since 2017, NVA has operated with an average of 35% BIPOC representation on all productions (performers, designers, production team and crew).
- Our full-time staff is currently 33% BIPOC, and our part-time staff is 50% BIPOC.
- We will update these numbers quarterly.
We will adjust our rehearsal schedule to be more responsible and accessible, including allocating more time to make art and more flexibility with schedules.
We will institute an anonymous system for complaints and concerns, and continue our practice of open-door access to theatre leadership and full-time staff members.
We are transforming our paid internships into entry-level industry positions to help build the next generation of arts leaders.
We will continue our practice of equitable pay for all artists, staff members, and contractors, including compensation for work that falls outside of contractual obligations.
CURATING AN ENVIRONMENT THAT EMPOWERS BIPOC ARTISTS
We are committed to achieving substantial BIPOC representation throughout our seasons.
- We will ensure equitable BIPOC representation in the cast, creative and technical teams for each production, beginning with our upcoming 20th season.
- We will ensure equitable BIPOC representation in all casting sessions, production meetings, season planning, and rehearsal spaces.
We will curate and maintain an environment for continued and recurring work of BIPOC artists.
- We will continue to foster and cultivate relationships with BIPOC artists so that they consider New Village Arts a creative and inspiring home where they can further their artistry.
TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY FOR NVA LEADERSHIP
We commit to transparency and accountability around our institutional policies, expectations, and finances.
- Our Anti-racist efforts will be updated quarterly and will be made available on our website.
- As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, our finances are open to the public.
- We will continue to make our policies, particularly those that affect BIPOC individuals, readily available to the public.
- We will hold annual 360 reviews for all full-time staff members.
We commit to actively engage and encourage BIPOC leaders and community members to join NVA’s Board of Directors.
- One of the areas that has historically lacked diversity at NVA is the Board of Directors.
- We have set a goal of 3 new BIPOC Board members by June of 2021, resulting in 25% BIPOC representation.
- We will strive to achieve substantial BIPOC representation by June of 2023.
- New Village Arts does not have a mandatory minimum financial contribution for Board Members. We ask that Board Members do make a meaningful contribution, whether through wealth, work, or wisdom.
The Community Outreach committee within the Board of Directors is tasked with increasing access to NVA for all people.
- The committee is currently (and will continue to be) comprised of majority BIPOC individuals.
NVA will further develop our succession plan for NVA leadership, with the understanding of the importance of representation.
Arts education is a significant part of our work, and we are committed to our mission of being a training ground for future generations of art-makers and art-lovers. The same anti-racist policies that govern our productions, culture, and workplace also apply to our education programs.
Specific to our education programs and initiatives, we will:
- create safe, anonymous, and accessible means for students and parents to voice their experiences and concerns;
- continue to grow our Teatro Pueblo Nuevo scholarship fund to ensure cost is not a barrier to participation;
- increase the diversity of not only staff but students and be sure to meet students where they are and give them what they need to be successful;
- continue to offer low- to no-cost student matinees for age-appropriate productions.
New Village Arts is embarking on a major renovation of its arts center, to be opened in Winter 2021-2022. Our goal is to create a welcoming, accessible, and safe space for everyone to experience the arts. To meet this goal, we are:
- ensuring BIPOC representation on all design teams for the renovation and interior design;
- including a prominent land acknowledgement in the lobby and BIPOC visual artist representation;
- considering ways to address the need for private and safe spaces for BIPOC staff, patrons, and artists in our renovation.
Our new space will be a visual reflection of our anti-racist, welcoming, and inclusive practices.
As theatre-makers, we strive to awaken the human spirit through storytelling and empathy. However, this is only possible if we commit to creating a more equitable and accessible environment for BIPOC artists, staff, and community members. This document will serve as our guide in continuing our anti-racist work, and it will evolve and grow along with our organization.
We have made anti-racism a core value of New Village Arts and take responsibility for past shortcomings. To those who have not felt valued or have experienced harm within our space, we are deeply sorry. We thank you for holding us accountable as we continue this crucial work. We again thank the BIPOC theatre-makers whose We See You White American Theatre document has been a guiding force for our anti-racist work, and we thank the BIPOC artists who have shared themselves with New Village Arts over the years.
We renounce white supremacy.
We insist Black Lives Matter.
We believe BIPOC artists must be honored, exalted, and celebrated.
We are ready to get to work.