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R.E.A.L.: Equity Partnership Celebrates Four Years

Four years ago, Metro Arts began a partnership with the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy, seeking to foster meaningful conversations and actions around building racial equity in Nashville’s arts community. Since then, the Racial Equity in Arts Leadership, or REAL, program has supported more than 70 Nashville artists and arts leaders in four cohorts in learning about race, equity practices and ways in which to enact change within their personal practices, organizational structures, and the larger arts community. 

REAL Symposium attendees listen to artist and activist Favianna Rodriguez's keynote address.

This spring, the work of the REAL partnership culminated with Nashville’s first Racial Equity in Arts Leadership Symposium, a three-day gathering of more than 200 people participating in panel discussions, workshops, and keynote addresses focused on racial equity and the arts. 

Attendees gather on the stage of the first-ever REAL Symposium at Vanderbilt University.

In these four years, we’ve learned, shared, and grown in our mission. We are proud to have been part of the groundwork of meaningful conversations and actions around equity and antiracism among Nashville’s arts, nonprofit, government, and academic communities. 

Now that we’ve established and nurtured this program, the impact of which was vividly on display at last spring’s convening, we want to take some time to assess our next steps. We will use this fall to plan how to deepen these meaningful conversations and turn them into tangible programs that will help our community achieve some of REAL’s goals.

  “This partnership and work in addressing racial equity in the arts ecosystem in Nashville is one of the most important conversations happening locally as well as nationally right now,” said Jay Clayton, director of the Curb Center. 

Caroline Vincent, executive director of Metro Arts, shared, “At this time, we are assessing the impact of the program thus far and are determining ways to make the work even more vital. This assessment period will allow us to reshape the cohort learning process, update the curriculum and determine ways we might better utilize the resources within Curb, especially their arts and research expertise, to partner with arts organizations in the community to put racial equity policies, programs and initiatives into action.” 

We’re excited for what’s ahead--stay tuned for more information and program announcements in early 2020.

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