A new initiative aims to create an online resource mapping all arts entities founded by and focused on people of color (POC) in New York City. Named HueArts NYC, the project is a collaboration between three socially-minded, POC-led arts organizations: Museum Hue, the Laundromat Project, and Hester Street. The public is invited to nominate organizations to the project, which will be released in December.
Anyone can nominate an organization for inclusion in the project on the HueArts NYC website. Relevant entities can include nonprofit, fiscally sponsored, and for-profit groups.
The planned online platform will include a user-friendly map, a searchable online directory, and a field report spotlighting NYC arts organizations created by and centering all POC, including Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, and South West Asian and North African (SWANA) communities. According to the Laundromat Project’s executive director Kemi Ilesanmi, the new initiative will “enable greater visibility and self-determination” for POC spaces, artists, and creatives.
“Communities of color have been devastated not only this past year by the pandemic, but for generations through racism and disinvestment,” said NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) commissioner Gonzalo Casals in a statement. “HueArts will help chart the path forward for how culture can continue to be a pillar of our collaborative work towards a fairer, more equitable city.” The DCLA is a sponsor of the program, along with City Council, the Ford Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham, creative director of Museum Hue, said that the lack of “comprehensive data” on POC-led cultural organizations “has only perpetuated disparities in funding and representation.”
“These arts entities place people and community-care at the center of their practice, creating meaningful connections between their constituencies’ experiences and their offerings,” she said in a statement. “They provide the framework and thought leadership needed today more than ever.”
In addition to collecting submissions from the public, the organizing partners will hold curated focus groups, conduct research, and survey POC arts leaders and activists in the months leading to the December release. The project also has an advisory committee of over a dozen leaders of POC-led organizations, including Sade Lythcott of the National Black Theatre; Lisa Gold of the Asian American Arts Alliance; Diane Fraher of the American Indian Artists Inc.; and Libertad O. Guerra of the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center.