Power of Culture Blog
Racial Equity Progress Report (Jan – Mar ’23)
A quarterly report on our anti-racism work
Washington, D.C. — The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) has named Mass Cultural Council the recipient of the 2022 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Agency Award. This award recognizes a state arts agency that has fostered and developed diversity, equity, and inclusion in its work and shown insight and fortitude in advancing DEI across the state. The award was presented on September 24 during NASAA Assembly 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Under the guidance of Michael J. Bobbitt, Mass Cultural Council administers all of its programs and services with racial equity and access goals in mind. Recent efforts include: training staff and council members in diversity, equity, and inclusion; hiring its first director of people & culture, as well as four outreach coordinators to work with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities that have been historically un- or under-funded; and, with a one-time COVID-19 relief program for Asian American and Pacific Islander cultural organizations, developing new tools and outreach strategies to connect with constituents in their preferred language.
In 2021, Mass Cultural Council developed its first Racial Equity Plan, which outlines internal and external actions to ensure programs and resources are accessible and delivered equitably across the sector. Under Bobbitt’s leadership, the agency’s external engagement model actively recruits and builds relationships across all communities. Mass Cultural Council’s Racial Equity Plan has received national attention: in June 2022, the agency was recognized by Empower Success Corps for leadership in helping cultural nonprofits navigate the pandemic landscape and for advocating strongly for equitable funding and increased funding for the arts. By achieving the goals outlined in the Racial Equity Plan, Mass Cultural Council hopes to ensure a more equitably financed cultural sector across all Massachusetts communities.
“NASAA congratulates Mass Cultural Council as the 2022 recipient of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award, our field’s highest honor for a state arts agency demonstrating innovative and exceptional efforts to support and advance DEI in its state,” said NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux. “Mass Cultural Council’s deep commitment to investing financial, programmatic, and informational resources equitably is truly exemplary—a wonderful model to lift up for other state arts agencies. NASAA is thrilled to recognize Mass Cultural Council’s sustained, far-sighted and impactful achievements with this award.”
NASAA established the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards to recognize the policies, practices, and programs of state arts agencies that embrace and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in their states. NASAA celebrates the diversity that enriches and strengthens our nation, and through this award aims to support and elevate state arts agencies in their efforts to lead in this area. The award for agencies includes $2,500 to be used in support of the recipients’ diversity, equity, and inclusion work.
Founded in 1968, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies is the nonpartisan membership organization that serves the nation’s 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies. NASAA helps state arts agencies fulfill their many citizen service roles by providing knowledge services, representation, and leadership programs that strengthen the state arts agency community. NASAA also serves as a clearinghouse for data and research about public funding and the arts.