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Summit Brings Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Focus to the Arts

Theatre students performing on stage at UNC

February 1, 2023

University of Northern Colorado’s College of Performing and Visual Arts (PVA) is hosting its second annual Arts Equity Summit on Friday, Feb. 3, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at UNC’s Campus Commons. The event is part of the college’s continued commitment to support the university’s strategic priority of empowering inclusivity by celebrating and supporting equity in the arts and inspiring students, faculty and staff towards more equitable practices and ways of existing in their respective fields.  

UNC students, faculty and staff will come together with several guest artists and faculty from across the country representing different artistic disciplines and cultural and social backgrounds for a day of workshops, discussions and performances that explore issues of equity in the arts. This event is designed to create spaces to give the university community the opportunity to reflect on the relevance of the components of equity: justice, diversity, accessibility and inclusion not only in an academic context but also in different professional environments.  

“This event was done with the great support of our faculty and staff, and it is part of our college’s overall belief that justice, equity, diversity and inclusion are essential to creating and fostering an environment in which all students have access to the educational and artistic experiences that transform their passion and aptitude into the professional skills,” said Cristina Goletti, dean of PVA. “We believe that the values of belonging and justice, coined by students, faculty and staff from our college, are important too, because we deeply understand the responsibility we have as artists and educators to engage in difficult conversations that open space for positive and lasting change. 

“It is common to bring professional artists so the students can learn from real-life challenges once they are out of college,” Goletti continued. “But this time, what we want is to bring them to also reflect on the social structures that allow or prevent access to that professional market. In our efforts to be more inclusive, we want to think beyond the classroom. What kind of environment are our students going to face once they graduate? That’s why at PVA we think we need to bring these topics to the table.”  

The summit kicks off with simultaneous activities, both in-person and virtual, providing participants with several opportunities to choose from. While some will be painting a collective mural with the guidance of Anthony J. Garcia Sr. of Birdseed Collective, others will have a conversation with the Joffrey Ballet’s Board Relations Manager, Pablo Sánchez, the Colorado Symphony Association’s Artistic General Manager, Izabel Zambrzycki, or with Mehry Eslaminia who participated as an actress in the Broadway production of 1776.  

After lunch, there will be a keynote presentation with Garcia and a discussion panel about equity in the arts with current and past faculty members. To close the event, UNC students will perform at the Campus Commons Performance Hall. 

For more information about the summit, including guest artists bios and performance times, visit the Arts Equity Summit webpage. 

Arts Equity Summit Mission Statement 

As a community of performing and visual artists with a heritage of being at the forefront of change, we recognize that many existing systems of power grant privilege and access unequally, and we believe that equity is crucial to the long-term viability of the arts, our culture, and our community. Through lectures, concerts, listening sessions, and opportunities for reflection and connection, we aim both to celebrate our support of equity in the arts and to inspire students, faculty, and staff towards more equitable practices and ways of existing in their respective fields. We hope to provide resources, amplify voices, foster awareness, empower action, and create momentum for continuous growth.

— written by Carlos José Pérez Sámano