In response to yesterday’s post about the Canadian Opera Company (COC) and Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) losing city funding due to a lack of diversity, I noticed some intriguing conversations across social media.
One of the overriding themes was a sense that orchestras are genuinely trying as hard as they can to address diversity and that stated commitment should count for something.
These points made me think about a post here from 4/10/2017 about an interview article with then outgoing San Francisco Symphony (SFS) executive director Brent Assink that appeared in the San Francisco Classical Voice.
Please take the time to read the post and the complete excerpt of Assink’s comments about SFS diversity efforts. But in a nutshell, although diversity was important to the SFS, it was only important to a certain degree.
However, one community that has been out of reach is the African-American community. Assink explains it this way, “we don’t have the resources or the energy, or whatever it is, to slot ourselves into a logical relationship with the African-American community, a relationship built on the kind of cultural tradition we have in other communities. If you don’t have that connection, the effort feels forced; it feels artificial, and then, I think, you’re worse off than if you didn’t do anything at all.”
In Toronto, the local government appears to be measuring that gap in arts funding dollars.