Good Morning all you cool cats and kittens! Did you think Tiger King references were overused and outdated? Did you think my humor got more sophisticated with my week off? Think again. In the midst of the absolute hot mess that is November 2020, I thought we could all use some light cat therapy. I just got a kitten and as a proud cat mom just beware that one of my clever hyperlinks may or may not be an unrequested picture of M’Baku, the cutest kitten that ever lived. You’re welcome. Ok ok back to the post.
You may have heard of No Shave November, you may have even heard of No Decided President November, but today I’m here to talk about Non-Profit November [pew pew pew]!! This post is dedicated to uplifting non-profit arts organizations that are DOING THE THING when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion work.
1. First up, an exemplary example of the Michigan Difference (I have to be honest I still don’t really know what that is, please someone, anyone, explain it to me). Recent UM grad, Jaimie Sharp is the CEO of this outright original, outstanding opera non-profit focused on inclusion and diversity:
“Opera NexGen’s mission is to provide unparalleled operatic performances with a diverse artistic community. We seek to discover the next generation of talent with our company founded on equality, equity, inclusivity, and excellence. It is our aim to cast solely on vocal ability above all other credentials. Our goal is to ensure that opera will continue to thrive for generations to come by pioneering the scope of live virtual performance.”
Check out their Benefit Gala What Did I Miss November 21st at 5pm EST
Wanna get involved? Audition for their Virtual Cosi fan tutte Concert by December 4th. Get more information about it here.
Check out their insta @operanexgen
2. Dance classes may currently be on hold cause Ms. Rona isn’t here to make friends, but that hasn’t stopped this dazzling, dedicated dance non- profit from making a difference:
“We seek to increase participation of underrepresented populations in ballet programs through organizing and arranging ballet performances, photo exhibitions, and providing resources and scholarships to assist young girls in their ballet development and training.”
Looking to get involved? Are you a dancer desperate for an internship to get your parents off your back about what you’re doing with your life in the midst of the pandemic-filled, politically charged, hot mess of a world we’re currently living in? Apply for one of their internships, they’re looking for interns with dance experience!
Check out their insta @browngirlsdoballet
3. BIPOC wouldn’t be pronounceable without our integral Indigenous communities. Check out this insanely innovative, impactful, and inimitable indigenous arts non-profit:
“The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation advances equity and cultural knowledge, focusing on the power of arts and collaboration to strengthen Native communities and promote positive social change with American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native peoples in the United States. They provide fellowships, community engagement programs, and education resources for Native communities.
Looking to get involved check out these volunteer opportunities
Check out their insta @native_art_culure
4. If you’re looking for a quintessentially, quanitfiably queer arts non-profit then look no further:
“QUEER|ART was launched in 2009 to support a generation of LGBTQ+ artists that lost mentors to the AIDS Crisis of the 1980s. By fostering the confident expression of LGBTQ+ artists’ perspectives, stories, and identities, Queer|Art amplifies the voice of a population that has been historically suppressed, disenfranchised, and often overlooked by traditional institutional and economic support systems.“
Looking to get involved? Look at their really cool mentorship program here, next round of applications are open Summer of 2021. Also look into the Eva Yaa Asantewaa Grant for Queer Women(+) Dance Artists- Dance artist funding opportunity here.
Check out there insta @queerinsta
5. The conscientious, compassionate, and chic Center for Arts Activism is Clearly the non-profit for you if you’re interested in connecting arts activist research with art organizations:
“The Center for Artistic Activism trains and advises organizations, artists and activists to help them increase the efficacy and affecacy of their artistic activism. We conduct innovative research to figure out what exactly efficacy and affecacy mean when it comes to artistic activist projects. And we share our trainings and research findings broadly, to provide the broadest possible access.“
Check out their podcast here and stay up to date!
6. Does social injustice make you want to grab your upright double bass and RAGE all over those unruly strings? Understandably, the upbeat Urban Playground non-profit may be calling your name:
“Urban Playground was formed out of the urge to develop a distinctively 21st century orchestra: Collaboration amongst artists from disparate backgrounds and experiences with respect to genre, and working in non-traditional venues. That changed when Eric Garner was killed by New York City police on July 17, 2014. The orchestra felt that there had to be a musical response to the broader national conversations regarding police brutality and systems of oppression. The orchestra shifted to prioritizing the works of composers of color and female composers, in order to expand and enliven the classical canon. The thriving cultural institutions of New York City will always offer outstanding performances of music from the predominately white, male European tradition; Urban Playground’s mission is to broadcast that which has not been heard, and to give opportunity to new and dormant voices.“
Follow them on insta @upchamberorchestra
7. To any of my Music Education friends who’ve felt woefully neglected by the focus of my previous posts,
I’m sorry I forgot about you I didn’t forget about you. This amazing, activist arts education non- profit is lit:
“We are an experimental art school teaching Black/PoC students and allies to become agents of change through art workshops on radical Black politics and public interventions that address local community needs. With socially engaged artists, designers, and educators working at the intersections of K-12/university teaching, art, design, and activism, all TBS programming is structured around our core principles of Black Love, self-determination, and wellness.”
Based in New Orleans’ 7th Ward, The Black School has really cool merch to rival Beyonce’s latest Ivy Park release. Check it out here!
8. Do phrases like “disruption”, “intersectional storytelling”, and “investing in cultural power” get you all hot and bothered? Then I have just the wonderfully women led won-profit for you (don’t judge me alliteration is hard. Pitbull rhymed Kodak with Kodak, just remember that.):
“The Center for Cultural Power is a women of color, artist-led organization, inspiring artists and culture makers to imagine a world where power is distributed equitably and where we live in harmony with nature. We support artists through fellowships, training and opportunities for activation. We create intersectional stories and content addressing issues of migration, climate, gender and racial justice. We engage groups in cultural strategy and organize artists in issues that inspire them. Together with allies, we are co-creating a field of cultural strategy with organizations and practitioners through convenings, design teams and strategy tables.“
Looking to get involved? Apply for their Disrupters Fellowship. It has a disability cohort, undocumented/ formerly undocumented cohort, and trans and nonbinary cohort
Follow them on instagram @culturestrike
9. Did I read three articles on why I’m bad at finishing things instead of coming up with a decent alliteration for this last non-profit? Yes yes I did. Is it because I’m a Sagittarius? Is it because my moon rising is in transition and my slight tendency for scorpiatic psychosis means that I know nothing about astrology but am willing to search anywhere for a decent excuse? Is it because my cat keeps running across my laptop? Unclear, but what is clear is that this next non-profit is changing the world one play at a time:
“Theatre of the Oppressed NYC partners with community members at local organizations to form theatre troupes. These troupes devise and perform plays based on their challenges confronting economic inequality, racism, and other social, health and human rights injustices. After each performance, actors and audiences engage in theatrical brainstorming – called Forum Theatre – with the aim of catalyzing creative change on the individual, community, and political levels.“
You can see videos of their work here.
Check out their insta @forumtheatrenyc
Are you that rare unicorn of an arts student who’s drowning in extra funds and don’t know where to spend them? Well lucky for you all of these Non Profits are accepting donations so feel free to send some coins their way Brown Girls Do Ballet, Opera NexGen, Center for Cultural Power, Queer Art, Urban Playground, The Black School, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, Center for Artistic Activism, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation
Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue– SOO COOL, I legitimately cold emailed this founder to see if she needed an intern. Check them out!
The power of performing arts– by Johanna Kepler (Not technically a non-profit but a UM grad and an up and coming arts leader to keep your eye on!)
Guerilla Girls inc– Are they a non profit? I don’t know but they’re really really cool! I mean who doesn’t want to dress up in a gorilla mask and dismantle the patriarchy?
M’Baku the cutest kitten that ever lived.
If you haven’t seen Black Panther yet, what are you doing?
Did I miss your favorite arts non-profit? Do you want more photos of my cat? Let me know in the comments section!
Thanks for reading, tune in next time when I write a list of the top 100 reasons I should be hired by Buzzfeed.