2014 sparked the beginning of OAAG’s Leadership and Cultural Pluralism Project, a three-year project funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation designed to address the professional development needed in the visual arts sector to accelerate cultural pluralism. The Cultural Pluralism and Leadership Project was comprised of professional development workshops, a mentoring program, and a project website with resources and references. The mentoring program paired 12 culturally diverse arts professionals with senior art leaders. After completion of the mentoring program, OAAG surveyed its members to measure their awareness, opinion, and current understanding of how cultural pluralism and diversity relates to gallery boards, collections, and exhibits. Conclusions from this survey showed that OAAG gallery staff and Board Chairs were well connected to the project. They believe that mentorship and accelerating cultural pluralism and diversity in gallery boards/staff, collections, and exhibits are essential in the visual arts sector.
OAAG worked with charles c. smith, project lead of Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement (CPAMO) during the mentorship program. Smith was the Cultural Pluralism Consultant for the project and lead the opening professional development workshop for the mentors and mentees. He is currently a lecturer at the University of Toronto Scarborough, a member of the Canadian Court Challenges Program/Equality Rights Panel, and a member of the Research Association with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. His book,Pluralism in the Arts Canada: A Change is Gonna Come(2012) presents strategies on promoting pluralism in the arts. He has addresses issues of equity and diversity inclusion in annual budgeting, strategic planning, and organizational development.
Staff at OAAG recently sat down with Smith to discuss his contributions to cultural pluralism in the arts sector. The full article can be found here.