the-blog

Black Lives Matter

Sarah Steininger Leroux

This past week has been a powerful one. We’ve been watching, learning and participating as some of the hundreds of thousands who attended protests around the country. We have added our voices to those who stand up for not just black people’s lives, but black people’s voices, contributions, and liberation.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about racism and my role in upholding an white supremacy. White people make up 72% of small business owners (compared to 6.3% black owners)[1]. 80.5% of artists represented by large NYC galleries are white (compared to 5.9% black artists)[2]. Racism is perpetuated within the systems in which we operate. As a white person, as a business owner, as a curator, and as an artist, I have an essential role to play in dismantling these unjust and inequitable systems. 

Accountability is a very important first step.

With that in mind, I am writing to all of you, our customers, students, staff, members, followers and fans, to make explicit our commitment to Black lives:

  1. We will represent more artists of color with a particular focus on black artists in our gallery.
  2. We will create gallery shows that specifically highlight the creative voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigeonous, People of Color) artists.
  3. We will develop a program to make our educational offerings more accessible to BIPOC through outreach and financial support.
  4. We will continue to develop new ways to show art that challenges our role as gate-keepers.

We are holding ourselves accountable to these commitments. I recognize that these goals are not wholly formed and will require planning. As we strategize, we will be adding more specificity, and we will be inviting you to join us. Whether it is donating to a scholarship fund, shopping at a fundraiser or suggesting new artists, there will be opportunities for this community to come together and support us in our commitment.

I started this business as much more than a way to make money. Steve and I have always wanted it to be a seed for positive change in the world: how we think about community, and expertise, and the way we relate to each other economically. We’ve made some baby steps, but we know we can do more. Posting uplifting Instagrams and selling more beautiful pottery aren’t the kind of direct action the world is asking of us. I am an artist because I believe that art can be a mighty and transformative force for change in the world. I invite you to change the world with us. 

In Solidarity,

Sarah

 

[1] According to a 2016 study by Babson College

[2] From another 2016 study by CUNY’s Gutman College


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