In 2015, Trust program officers spotted a trend in grant applications: Staten Island arts groups wanted to reach larger and more diverse audiences that reflected the borough’s changing demographics. Staten Island Arts—a nonprofit that serves cultural organizations and individual artists—said it would help. Since 2017, our $537,000 investment has proven fruitful. Staff and board members from 34 arts and cultural organizations participated in marketing and racial equity workshops, made programmatic and staffing improvements, and formed new partnerships with community groups.
At the Staten Island Children’s Museum, staff participated in workshops and consultations to understand implicit bias and its relationship to discrimination against people of color, LGBTQ-identified people, and anti-Semitic thinking and actions.
At Historic Richmond Town, racial equity workshops led to the creation of its first-ever diversity coordinator position, and African Americans now see their ancestors reflected in the organization’s exhibits and reenactments.
And the Alice Austen House—a photography center and historic home of the groundbreaking lesbian photographer—created inter-generational photography and storytelling workshops that connected local LGBTQ students with elders in that community. “For some teens, it was the first opportunity they had to spend time with older LGBTQ adults,” said Elizabeth Bennett, the executive director of Staten Island Arts. “It was a meaningful experience for young people who hadn’t yet envisioned who they might become as elders.”