Engaging BIPOC Artists in Partnerships Inspiring Change Through Authentic Collaborations

The Cultural Coalition’s Outreach and Community Impact Coordinator, Kia Baird, along with Sarbani Hazra, the Coalition’s Norwich Arts and Culture Coordinator recently facilitated a dynamic and informative discussion at The Arts Administrators of Color Network’s two-day Annual Convening on November 11 and 12, 2023 in Chicago, IL. The conversation brought together participants from around the country to discuss challenges and to offer best practices in engaging with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) artists working in rural communities, including those in the low-density population areas found throughout all of Eastern Connecticut. Insights will be shared at the Cultural Coalition's February 13th online Drop-In Clinic.


“This experience was phenomenal. In addition to the invaluable information gathered at the event, we met with professionals from all over the world doing similar work to that of the Cultural Coalition. We’re excited to bring these best practices back to Connecticut,” stated Kia.


Sarbani and Kia were joined in Chicago by Kolton Harris, Program Manager for the Connecticut Office of the Arts. Kolton participated in the conversation as a multi-hyphenate artist from Groton, CT, sharing his insight on the importance of collaboration and partnership. 


“We’re thrilled with the insightful discussion and the wonderful turnout at our session. By connecting with other arts advocates and artists, we can make real change through collaboration and continue to be inspired by what others are already doing in the field,” said Sarbani.


The group discussion included arts administrators and advocates from across the country including New York, California, and South Carolina as well as an international curator from Columbia, South America. 


“Being selected to facilitate a breakout session at the AAC’s Convening was an amazing opportunity for the Cultural Coalition. I am so proud of Kia and Sarbani, and their work alongside Kolton, to better understand and engage with BIPOC rural artists. We look forward to applying what they learned in Chicago to our work here in the region,” said Wendy Vincent, Executive Director of the Cultural Coalition.


Kia and Sarbani will share some suggested best practices for organizations to authentically engage with BIPOC artists, at the Cultural Coalition's next online Drop-in Clinic on February 13 from 10-11am. They will be joined by Jessica Morozowich, Funding Booster Program Manager, who will discuss the importance of this work and how to communicate these collaborations to funders as part of the grant process.


To register for the online Zoom event, visit culturesect.org


The Funding Booster Program is a free support service offered by the Cultural Coalition for organizations, creative businesses, and artists that aims to improve the arts and cultural sector’s ability to apply for and win grants and to increase funding to the creative sector in our region. The monthly Drop-In Clinics connect members of the creative community with each other and to funding resources and opportunities.


About the AAC: Founded in July 2016, the Arts Administrators of Color Network (AAC) is a service organization that focuses on networking and community building through the arts. The AAC are advocates who continue to fight for equity in the arts through collaborations, forums, and outlets that provide a voice for arts administrators and artists of color where there may not be one.


About the Cultural Coalition: The Cultural Coalition is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, with the mission to improve the economy, vitality and quality of life in Eastern Connecticut by supporting the arts, cultural and creative community. The Cultural Coalition serves as a CT Office of the Arts Designated Regional Service Organization (DRSO) which operates as a local field office supporting 42 municipalities in Eastern Connecticut. Learn more about the Cultural Coalition at culturesect.org.