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SPARC’s Commitment to Racial Equity in Our Community and in the Arts Sector

Dear Members of the SPARC Family,

Our community, nation, and world are having long-overdue conversations about systemic racism, violence, and other discriminatory practices that have marginalized Black people for centuries. Black Lives Matter, and as we expressed in the early days of this movement, SPARC stands united with our students, families, faculty, staff, volunteers, donors, and fellow citizens against racism and injustice.

SPARC’s values include empathy — the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. All people must work to listen to, support, and walk alongside those most affected by racial injustice, and then use our voices to stand up for what is right.

SPARC joins in the call to embrace this movement for anti-racism and social justice within the arts sector. We believe that joining in such a call must begin by acknowledging that our own organization can and should do more to end inequity and racism. Indeed, all institutions must do more, first to listen and then to act, if we are going to create racial equity in our society. To that end, SPARC is in the final stages of the redevelopment of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan, which is the result of over six months of analysis, outside consulting, and professional development. We will share this plan in the near future, which will reflect the need for action and our commitment to being an anti-racist organization.

SPARC aspires to develop and inspire the next generation to be strong advocates for racial equity and social justice, whether they pursue careers in the arts or other fields. We aim to inspire our students to create and support new art that amplifies BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) voices that for far too long have been overlooked in traditional arts programming. And when they reach their professional careers, they must have equitable opportunities to perform in — and to lead — arts organizations.

We invite you to join us on this journey.

In solidarity,

Ryan Ripperton
Executive Director and Chief Inspiration Officer

Pamela S. Belleman
President, Board of Directors