Diversity & Inclusion Statement

We believe that Black Lives Matter.

We believe that listening to and learning from our region’s Black community will help us serve our entire region.

We believe the performing arts can meaningfully contribute to societal conversation, change, and healing.

We are in a critical time in our nation’s history, where we are beginning to reckon with the disproportionate and violent impact that systemic racism continues to have upon people of color. Our communities are hurting. In this extremely challenging time, our hearts are with our Black artists, trustees, volunteers, and families.

The Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) was formed by the merger of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Toledo Ballet. Between these two organizations, we have nearly 160 years of performance history in front of Toledo audiences. When we reflect upon this history, we come to an important conclusion: while we strive to serve our region, we have not served all the people in our community to the best of our ability. 

We take responsibility for our role in this. We must do better in our relationship to communities of color and religion, especially our Black community.

We have made concerted efforts, particularly in showcasing Black performers and creators, but we still have much to learn and much to accomplish. We believe that our organization is uniquely situated to impact our community in many ways. Through our choice of performers, we can inspire our audience members. Through our choice of choreographers, composers, and creators, we can bring new voices to a community conversation. Through our choice of educational curriculum, we can prepare students to engage meaningfully with a diverse and vital world. Through our organizational behavior, we can be role models for collaboration and partnership.

Our Board of Trustees has formed a committee that will focus upon matters related to Diversity, Engagement, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI). Composed of trustees and staff, this Committee has the broad mandate to address the following:

  • On our stages: increase the number and visibility of performers and creators of color in our performance seasons.
  • In our studios: incorporate creators of color into the curriculum of our Toledo Ballet dance programs, Toledo Symphony School of Music, and Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras to foster an inclusive and diverse learning environment.
  • In our neighborhoods: promote meaningful collaborations between our educational programs and communities of color to increase the diversity of our faculty and student body.
  • In our community: partner with individuals and community organizations to create meaningful and relevant performing arts experiences for all in our region.
  • In our workplaces: implement training programs that examine the effect of unconscious or implicit bias on workplace culture.
  • Across our organization: develop strategies to increase diversity across our board and employees.

As an organization whose lifeblood is the performing arts, we often shy away from mistakes. However, we are motivated by the words of Randall Goosby, a remarkable violinist who will present his Toledo debut in November: “I hope that people don’t easily allow their fear of getting it wrong to deter them from doing what’s right.” We will make mistakes. But as artists, we will listen, we will collaborate, and we will learn from them. When we next reflect upon our history, we will be better musicians, dancers, educators, and community citizens for embarking on this process.

We will need your help in this. If you have any suggestions, ideas, or guidance for our organizations, we would love to hear from you. We have set up an e-mail address, diversity@artstoledo.com, that will have us respond quickly to suggestions relevant to our DEAI committee and its initiatives.

Thank you, all of you, for giving us the opportunity to be your performing arts organization.

Zak Vassar Pat Bowe
President & CEO Board Chair

 

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