The Yard is taking a stand in support of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and is making a commitment to continue highlighting the many talented Black, Indigenous, and people of color artists on the Vineyard and around the world, according to a press release.
The nonprofit artist residency and dance center will invest in anti-racism and cultural competence training for all staff and the board of directors, and will also be changing their employment practices where necessary to ensure they promote equity and a sense of belonging throughout the organization.
According to the release, The Yard will continue to commission, present, and engage Black, Indigenous, and people of color artists, and explore new ways of providing them a platform to make their voices heard.
As The Yard looks at reimagining their programs, they will also be looking at new ways to educate the community — both young and old.
The release states that The Yard will continue to educate youth and adults in diverse dance genres, and partner with guest teaching artists to ensure they are taught with authenticity.
Interim executive director for The Yard, Chloe Jones, told The Times the COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for the organization, but has also created an opportunity to expand partnerships with arts and culture organizations locally, regionally, and nationally.
“Amplifying the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color artists has been central to The Yard’s programming,” Jones said. “We are looking to continue that and make those connections even stronger.”
She noted a number of offerings that exemplify the immense talent of the Black, Indigenous, and people of color arts and culture community, such as professional break dancer Raphael Xavier, and the online East African dance class that is running through August.
As for the cultural competence and sensitivity training The Yard will be undergoing, Jones said the organization is looking at ways to sustain that training and make it an ongoing education for staff and board members. Jones said The Yard is participating in a course offered by the Cultural Equity Learning Community, an organization that seeks to promote equity within the arts and culture sector.
Jones said one huge value to this training is that it connects members of The Yard to other folks in the arts sector who are addressing the same internal and programming questions.
Going forward, Jones said The Yard will continue to promote equity and diversity for all.
“As an organization, we are really trying to figure out what the best training match is for us in order to make this education sustained, and will continue to flesh out what our educational offerings will be this fall,” Jones said.