PrintAustin is committed to creating a sense of belonging where artists and community members have a platform to share their stories and experiences. We are prioritizing racial equity internally and throughout our programming by identifying areas where we can grow and learn. We believe this to be important work.
In the spring of 2019, following PrintAustin’s 6th annual printmaking festival, the principals had a very frank conversation about how our organization might reach communities that we didn’t seem to be getting–not only in artist representation but in the general public that attends our events. We decided to do better as an organization regarding inclusion and racial equity. PrintAustin has historically been the most successful recruiting White and Latino/a, latinx and Hispanic populations. However, we recognized that equity and inclusion needed to be a strategic priority for PrintAustin to recruit BIPOC communities.
In March of 2019, our organization reached out to a Black printmaker for ideas on how our organization might reach other printmakers in his community. We invited him to jury a show of Black printmakers, hold a curatorial talk at the exhibit, and show his work at our print fair, PrintEXPO. This relationship turned out to be pivotal. We also participated in his podcast with a frank discussion on race and how PrintAustin might find more artists of color to participate in our festival. Since then, PrintAustin has created a more diverse board of directors, made more thoughtful choices when hiring jurors or developing our programming, and held artist talks regarding creativity, racism, and LGBTQ+ issues.
Assessment and data
Our next phase required the creation of a committee to work on pushing the ways PrintAustin can reach communities of color and show gender support. Some items of focus include:
- Programs and services
- Engagement and advocacy
- Evaluation and accountability
Other initiatives since 2019 include:
- On 2020-2021 applications, we allowed free or reduced entry to any self-identified marginalized communities.
- On 2021-2022 applications, we began tracking self-identification data as part of applications to ensure a more diverse pool of artists. (We also provided application fee waivers to any artists that made a request, regardless of the reason.)
- We advertised on Facebook in Spanish, and we also created a Spanish translation widget on our webpage for our open calls.
- We have a plan to collect self-identification data from our festival audience.
PrintAustin is committed to making sure everyone feels they are welcome to participate and attend our events. We want all communities to see themselves represented on the walls of our events.