NDG Live

Minority-focused theaters form ‘BIPOC Arts Coalition’

Four Black and Latino theater organizations are joining forces in a bid to continue their part in Dallas’ arts scene. The Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Arts Coalition was formed this month to support BIPOC communities that have been historically underserved and under-resourced – the very communities that today are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, in terms of both community health and economic impact.

The goals of the BIPOC Arts Coalition are to provide a vision and advocacy platform for antiracism, equitable funding and structural support for culturally-specific artists and performance groups in Dallas.

The Bishop Arts Theatre Center (above) is one of four theaters where minority artists have traditionally been able to reach out to an audience. With COVID-19 decimating both performances and funding, these theaters are banding together to weather the storm. (Photo: David Wilfong / NDG)

Although the entire arts ecosystem has experienced losses during COVID-19, BIPOC arts groups and artists have historically suffered from underfunding, like the communities we represent. Our BIPOC arts organizations and artists therefore run the risk of continued underfunding at this time. Nevertheless, BIPOC arts organizations and artists are the most prepared to support communities most affected by COVID-19 and systemic racism.

The BIPOC Arts Coalition is asking the City of Dallas and the philanthropic community to support the work of BIPOC artists and arts organizations.

For the City of Dallas’s Fiscal Year (FY) 20-21, the BIPOC Arts Coalition recommends fully funding the neighborhood City of Dallas Cultural Centers serving BIPOC communities. They are also asking the City to maintain FY 19-20 funding levels of BIPOC arts organizations into FY 20-21 in the Cultural Organization’s Program (COP).

“Due to the overwhelming response to a recent City of Dallas grant program for ALAANA or BIPOC artists, (we ask the city to) increase FY 20-21 funding levels for neighborhood arts programs from FY 19-20 in order to increase service to BIPOC communities in need and support the growing number of BIPOC working artists seeking City support,” BIPOC said in its release. “These programs include Pop-up cultural centers, CAP and ArtsActivate among other new initiatives. Funding and contracts should go primarily to BIPOC-led organizations and artists.”

Finally, BIPOC is aksing the City of Dallas to offer funding support for facilities for BIPOC Arts Organizations that own or manage buildings.

From the philanthropic community, the BIPOC Arts Coalition recommends to rectify historic underfunding of BIPOC artists and arts organizations, and provide multi-year funding and investment into endowments of BIPOC arts organizations.

As with the city, BIPOC is asking the community to provide funding support for BIPOC Arts Organizations that own or manage buildings, as well as support for health insurance for BIPOC individual artists and staff at BIPOC arts organization.

BIPOC cited the study “In it for the Long Haul,” by Zannie Voss (Director of SMU DataArts) and Jill Robinson (CEO of TRG Arts) as indicative of the struggles minority arts organizations face.

“Research has shown that national distribution of arts funding flows disproportionately to large institutions, which puts culturally specific organizations at a disadvantage. Culturally specific organizations are affected by the same structural racism and inequities that affect the people and communities they serve.”

NDG Weekly Picks
North Dallas Gazette


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here