In This Episode

Erik and Afa discuss the very real structural barriers that limit inclusion, how most American orchestras present works by mostly white men, and why risk-averse leaders must make big changes in staffing and programming to align their organizations with changing demographic realities in order to keep classical music relevant and alive in this country.

 

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The time for exploring considering, discussing, writing another whitepaper, searching for another set of data statistics, marinating, all of that, the time for that is gone. Without regard to what the level of your position is, make a commitment to inclusion being a priority in your work, and then do something.

ABOUT AFA

Afa Dworkin is the President and Artistic Director of the Sphinx Organization, whose mission is to transform lives through the power of diversity in the arts.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Erik Gensler: Well thank you so much for having me here this is my first recording in an official podcast studio.

Jane Chu: Well thanks for giving me the opportunity.

Erik Gensler: And thank you for all the amazing work you do on behalf of the arts in this country it's a real pleasure and honor to be able to speak with you

Jane Chu: Thank you

Erik Gensler: What is the mission of the National Endowment for the Arts?

Jane Chu: Well the mission of the National Endowment for the Arts has been about making sure that the arts can thrive in so many different ways all across the nation, so that's the way we think in our activities. That's the way we think in terms of the grants awarded. Is the nation able to help, and really engage with the arts, , in so many different ways.

Erik Gensler: how and why was the institution founded?

Jane Chu: We've seen the benefits of participating in the arts, and that is why it was founded 53 years ago, when I first got here, to the National Endowment for the Arts, I looked at the enacting legislation, and we wanted to make sure that we have followed, uh, that specific legislation from the beginning, which is to help the nation thrive through the arts.

There are many, uh, many opportunities, milestones that we're so pleased to see, and they range from making sure that there are arts activities, and that the NEA has been able to support across the nation, so all 50 states, all 435 congressional districts, There's 19 thousand communities in the United States, and the National Endowment for the Arts supports, 16 thousand of them.

Erik Gensler: Wow.

Jane Chu: We've seen a really good track record of new projects, helping organizations get off the ground, who are really doing good work. I think back to Prairie Home Companion, National Endowment for the Arts was able to, uh, see that at the very beginning. American Film Institute, uh, we s-, sponsored a deaf initiative to make sure that people with low hearing, and people who were deaf would be able to participate in the arts, uh, Deaf West Theater in California.

Erik Gensler: Well thank you so much for having me here this is my first recording in an official podcast studio.

Jane Chu: Well thanks for giving me the opportunity.

Erik Gensler: And thank you for all the amazing work you do on behalf of the arts in this country it's a real pleasure and honor to be able to speak with you

Jane Chu: Thank you

Erik Gensler: What is the mission of the National Endowment for the Arts?

Jane Chu: Well the mission of the National Endowment for the Arts has been about making sure that the arts can thrive in so many different ways all across the nation, so that's the way we think in our activities. That's the way we think in terms of the grants awarded. Is the nation able to help, and really engage with the arts, , in so many different ways.

Erik Gensler: how and why was the institution founded?

Jane Chu: We've seen the benefits of participating in the arts, and that is why it was founded 53 years ago, when I first got here, to the National Endowment for the Arts, I looked at the enacting legislation, and we wanted to make sure that we have followed, uh, that specific legislation from the beginning, which is to help the nation thrive through the arts.

There are many, uh, many opportunities, milestones that we're so pleased to see, and they range from making sure that there are arts activities, and that the NEA has been able to support across the nation, so all 50 states, all 435 congressional districts, There's 19 thousand communities in the United States, and the National Endowment for the Arts supports, 16 thousand of them.

Erik Gensler: Wow.

Jane Chu: We've seen a really good track record of new projects, helping organizations get off the ground, who are really doing good work. I think back to Prairie Home Companion, National Endowment for the Arts was able to, uh, see that at the very beginning. American Film Institute, uh, we s-, sponsored a deaf initiative to make sure that people with low hearing, and people who were deaf would be able to participate in the arts, uh, Deaf West Theater in California.

Erik Gensler: Well thank you so much for having me here this is my first recording in an official podcast studio.

Jane Chu: Well thanks for giving me the opportunity.

Erik Gensler: And thank you for all the amazing work you do on behalf of the arts in this country it's a real pleasure and honor to be able to speak with you

Jane Chu: Thank you