Bank of America (MA)Embrace Diversity & Team Building
Building Diversity in Boston's Art Scene
A recent collaboration between nonprofit arts service organization ArtsBoston and Bank of America is empowering a new network for tomorrow’s arts leaders. ArtsBoston’s Audience Lab Director Victoria George launched the Network for Arts Administrators of Color (NAAC Boston) in 2016. As the organization’s only fulltime employee of color at the time, she wanted to create a space for other administrators of color to engage in conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts while also building their professional networks. What evolved from this vision is an innovative, multi-faceted initiative that provides a range of resources to support the professional needs of people of color working in Greater Boston’s arts and culture sector. Approximately 250 administrators make up the network’s membership, and participation is growing rapidly. Today, the 250 administrators who comprise the NAAC Boston membership meet monthly for formal meetings, social gatherings, and professional development.
Recognizing the opportunity to promote diversity in the region’s cultural sector and build upon its commitment to economic equity in Greater Boston, Bank of America (BoA) stepped up to provide the seed money for NAAC Boston in 2016, and has continued as the primary financial funder for the Network. At a time when issues of DEI are rightfully at the forefront of conversations and action across all sectors, the arts community, with support from smart business partners, can lead the way in encouraging discussion and change. This is particularly necessary in Boston, which still suffers from an intractable legacy of racism, as highlighted by a recent seven-part series on the realities of racism in Boston from The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team that examined healthcare, higher education, sports, and politics.
“At Bank of America, we believe that a thriving arts and culture sector strongly benefits economies and societies,” stated Alicia Verity, Massachusetts Market Executive, Bank of America. “We also recognize the importance of partnering with impactful organizations like ArtsBoston to help make Boston become a more equitable city that provides equal opportunity and economic mobility for all. Supporting ArtsBoston on the launch of the Network for Arts Administrators of Color was a natural step in realizing our shared vision.”
ArtsBoston’s Victoria George agrees: “The Network for Arts Administrators of Color could not have grown as quickly without support from Bank of America, which stepped in early to support our concept just as we were getting it off the ground. The change we want to see in the arts sector is the same as the change we want to see across all sectors, and having smart corporate partners like Bank of America invest in our shared vision makes all the difference to our work.”
BoA’s support goes beyond grant funding. The bank regularly hosts thought leadership events that provide settings where network members can continue their professional development by interacting with influential leaders from various sectors. Recently, BoA invited members to attend a convening co-hosted with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, entitled “Building Economic and Racial Equity: Conversations Addressing the Realities of Greater Boston.” At the event, members of the Network for Arts Administrators of Color were able to engage with Adrian Walker of the Spotlight Team and other leaders in the journalism, banking, and community empowerment fields all motivated to see real, sustainable social change.
Thanks to this collaboration, Bank of America and ArtsBoston are able to promote diversity in the arts world and continue the ever-relevant conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Bank of America was the BCA Hall of Fame honoree in 2000.
Photos by David Costa, ArtsBoston. Special thanks to Adrienne Chistolini, Community Relations Manager, Bank of America Foundation