These 6 agencies are using grant funding to advance racial equity

Through GARES’s Innovation and Implementation Fund, local governments are leveraging the arts and culture sector to affect change in racial equity


GARE is a national network of governments working together to achieve racial equity and advance equal opportunity for all. Image: Unsplash

The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) has selected six member organizations from California, Texas, Iowa and Washington as grantees for its 2020 Innovation and Implementation Fund summer cycle.

GARE is a national network of governments working together to achieve racial equity and advance equal opportunity for all. Its Innovation and Implementation Fund for the summer 2020 cycle is focusing on leveraging the arts and culture sector to affect change in racial equity.

For this cycle, the Fund has a budget of $110,000, with $56,000 being allocated to the California grantees.

GARE has two main goals for this summer 2020 cycle:

1. To develop the government’s capacity to build racial equity within the arts and culture sector

2. To encourage government to utilize arts and culture as strategies to build racial justice in areas outside of the arts

Selected grantees will be required to participate in GARE’s Arts and Culture Work Group, which is a cooperative of various local arts agency representatives dedicated to eliminating racism in the arts and culture field, while also using the arts and culture sector to undo white supremacy and build racial equity. Grantees will work with other GARE members to create an issue paper and coordinate an assembly for early 2021.

Below is a list of grantees and what programs or projects the allotted funding will be used for:

  • The California Arts Council will develop a statewide learning community co-created by BIPOC artists using an intersectional, creative approach to racial equity. Project goals include uplifting BIPOC artists as first-time mentors and facilitators in government as well as centering authentic narratives in both traditional and futurist cultural expression.
  • The City of Dallas Texas’ Office of Arts and Culture (DOAC) will mobilize a coalition (including Code Compliance and Groundwork Dallas) to reimagine community space - turning vacant and blighted lots into sculpture parks, thus creating a place of representation, enjoyment, and belonging that will contribute to enriching and broadening the narrative about the area.
  • The City of Dubuque Iowa’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs (DuOAC) will elevate the voices of Dubuque’s Black artists and culture makers by facilitating the development of collaborations and programs among arts organizations, educational institutions, and nonprofits. The combined effort will support programs taking place at venues throughout the community.
  • The City of San Jose California’s Office of Cultural Affairs and the School of Arts and Culture, Mexican Heritage Plaza, are partnering to provide a model of professional development training that includes workshops and peer-to-peer mentorships to foster leadership opportunities in the local arts sector for San Jose BIPOC artists, art educators, and emerging and established arts leaders.
  • The City of Seattle Washington’s Office of Arts and Culture will work with local Black artists, BIPOC arts leaders, and performing arts accountability groups to create a Code of Conduct Toolkit. The Toolkit, using a structural analysis of racism in the performing arts, will offer strategies and approaches to dismantle the systems that have created white supremacy culture in the field.
  • The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will implement artist-led community engagement strategies to advance cultural equity on two mobility corridor projects: the LA River Bike Path Project and the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor. The effort will use culturally-specific engagement tactics to draw in artists from the southern river cities and the Rio Hondo Confluence area, giving agency and leadership roles to those most impacted by the work.

GARE appreciates the support of the California Endowment, the San Francisco Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation for funding that provides flexible resources for local government to seed projects that are focused on eliminating structural racism.

Learn more about GARE’s work with racial equity.

Kenny Sokan is a freelance writer at Gov1. She is a strong believer in the power of information and creative expression, which guides her in all of the work that she does. Kenny is a graduate of Northeastern University with a BA in journalism.