As many of you know, the Dairy Arts Center has always reflected a wonderful sense of community and shared resources. And even though it still holds true, this past year’s necessary hibernation, numerous tragedies, and violent clashes have revealed a need to reevaluate our values and longstanding sense of community.
In addition to working hard to keep the Dairy intact during our closure, members of the board and staff used the Covid downtime to share thoughts, discuss, reflect, and reexamine our priorities. We recognize that this community is built on an appreciation for all disciplines of art and the full spectrum of human experience. We agreed to look for new ways to hold our community up on the pillars of kindness, empathy, equity, and justice.
We came away from the process, not just with a list of words to post on our website, but with definitive guideposts for our day to day operations, programming selections, as well as our interactions with Dairy Arts Center staff, board, patrons, donors, partners, residents, volunteers, and artists. In particular, this means:
- bringing resources and art to an even broader segment of the creative community
- pursuing greater diversity in the creation and curation of Dairy-produced content
- allowing more artists and organizations opportunities to perform in our theaters by setting limits on the amount of time any one theater company can rent a theater
Although necessary, change is not always easy and requires a healthy dose of courage to act as the backbone for everything we do. Courage is what allows us to make bold programming choices and break into new genres of artistic practice. It allows us to confront disruptive or harmful behavior to protect and grow our community, to pursue an equal opportunity with certainty, and it keeps us open to change. We hope that our community has the courage to put their trust in us while we hold ourselves accountable and move towards creating a truly fearless and inclusive space.
With that in mind, I hope you can join us tonight for a lively discussion with artist, humanitarian, skateboarder, and Oglala Lakota native—Walt Pourier—as we unveil a new program created and founded by a collective of Indigenous artists called Creative Nations.
We are excited for the Dairy’s future and look forward to introducing you to many new artists and perspectives as the year ahead unfolds. Welcome back to the Dairy!