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15 Jun. 2020

Art Metropole statement of solidarity and responsibility

Art Metropole stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the many anti-racism movements and protests that are happening here in Toronto/tkaronto, in Canada, the United States, and worldwide. We also support calls for the effective reworking of public institutions that are mandated to provide safety to the public—this includes defunding the police and reallocating funds in order to better support those most marginalized.

In voicing this solidarity, Art Metropole must also acknowledge its own shortcomings and complicity in White supremacy and White privilege.

We point specifically to a historic underrepresentation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour on our staff and board, and a correlated underrepresentation of works by Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour in our program, inventory and collection.

These problems are exacerbated by a history of inadequate remuneration for artists and staff and several instances throughout our history where BIPOC artists and staff were not adequately supported by the organization. Art Metropole has been culpable for precarious labour conditions, that while endemic in non-profit and cultural sectors generally, and artist-run centres specifically, are especially pronounced in the organization. We recognize that these practices exploit the condition of privilege and serve to perpetuate privilege, especially White privilege, in the cultural sphere and beyond.

Art Metropole commits to doing better. We will ensure better representation of BIPOC/QTPOC artists working throughout the organization, particularly in leadership and governance. We commit to making more space for works by BIPOC/QTPOC artists in its inventory and collection, by actively accessioning and deaccessioning work as required. We will also conduct yearly audits of our artistic program to ensure it continues to serve these equity goals. We commit to paying living wages within the organization, increasing artist fees beyond national minimums, and dismantling barriers to employment based on systemic racism and privilege.

As a public organization that is responsible to a voting membership, we hope you will hold us to these commitments, and support us in our efforts to learn and improve what we do every day.

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