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Where Does the Cultural Sector Stand on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?

Cultural groups around the country are exploring diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, including the Cultural Alliance. As we dive deeper into this work, we wanted to explore what some other regions are doing.  

Recently, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs conducted a survey of its recent grantees, evaluating for diversity and equity in New York's cultural workforce. Demographic data was collected from 987 organizations on race/ethnicity, gender, disability, age, job type, and level of seniority.

Here are some key findings:

NYC population vs. NYC nonprofit cultural staff
67% People of Color vs. 38.48% People of Color
33% White Non-Hispanic vs. 61.52% White Non-Hispanic
52% Female vs. 52.55% Female

  • Over half of individuals in leadership roles are women
  • On the national level, individuals identifying as white accounted for 72% of museum staff; 78% of arts managers; and 91% of board members. At the city level, the survey found 59% of museum staff; 74% of senior staff; and 78.1% of board members
  • Junior level roles show greater diversity than senior positions
  • The number of jobs in education grew more rapidly than any other positions
  • Of 5,640 total jobs, about 5,000 are part-time
  • Leadership of NYC cultural organizations is comprised of 78.68% white non-Hispanic individuals
  • Board members of NYC cultural organizations are 77.54% white non-Hispanic
  • As organizations grow in budget size, they become decreasingly diverse

In evaluating the results of the survey, the Department has suggested some tactics to further diversify the city's cultural workforce, including leadership development pipeline programs, and learning exchange between smaller organizations and large. The Department of City Planning’s Theater Subdistrict Council is also exploring a funding opportunity of grants for the development and training of theater professionals, with preference given to programs that encourage participation from underrepresented groups; and the Department of Cultural Affairs is committing up to $1 million to fund proposals from members of the Cultural Institutions Group that support diversity efforts at their organizations. 

For more information on diversity, equity and inclusion for the arts and cultural sector, we recommend reviewing the artEquity training webinar, made possible with funding from the Mellon Foundation. You can also save the date for our #PHLArtsDiversity Twitter chat on Thursday, April 7.