Bad art #1: PCA preaches diversity, practices homogeneity

| January 13, 2014 | 29 Comments

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The Piedmont Council for the Arts’ (PCA) recent Soviet-style cultural plan, Create Charlottesville, is big on diversity and inclusion.

To wit, Create Charlottesville lists “diversity and inclusion” as goal number one, and the plan contains more than 100 references to these terms, including:

  • Achieve diversity and inclusiveness in arts and culture as core values and strengths in programming, artists, audiences, staff, and boards. [emphasis added]
  • …residents were directly engaged in a broadly inclusive, nine-month cultural planning process…
  • Traditional audiences can be challenged to move beyond their comfort zones to access new types of art and appreciate more diverse artists.
  • Opportunity for greater inclusion Yes, there are great opportunities. But, not all benefit. Arts programs could better engage with diverse audiences of all ages.
  • …engaging an increasingly diverse population in arts and culture activities, and providing opportunities for creative and cultural expression to support racial reconciliation
  • Audience aging and diversity are concerns.
  • …the plan intends to be broadly inclusive of all groups, considering diversity across many factors (racial, ethnic, cultural, age, socioeconomic, geographic, sexual orientation, disability, etc.).
  • Implementation of the cultural plan’s diversity and inclusion strategies makes more people feel welcome, comfortable, and included at cultural programs.
  • PCA incorporates a focus on diversity and inclusion strategies into existing professional development and networking programs.
  • Full diversity and inclusiveness in the arts requires diversified and engaged participation…
  • A significantly diverse population provides arts and cultural organizations the opportunity to develop vibrant and varied experiences…
  • With significantly increasing diversity, Charlottesville has a renewed opportunity to seek engagement with those who may not yet actively participate in cultural activities.

Yet a visual examination of PCA’s leadership team and board of directors paints a radically different picture—predominantly in hues of white. Out of 21 positions listed, only two appear to fit PCA’s stated racial diversity/inclusivity standards.

This leads to a number of questions for PCA and their statist planning-cronies. Regarding the Create Charlottesville report:

  • Where are Latinos (noted 13 times in the plan) on the PCA executive team?
  • In a city with 19% black population, does an Arts organization with less than 10% black board representation truly mirror the community?
  • Where are the Asians on PCA’s board? And with a population 140% that of Latinos in Charlottesville, why were Asians not directly referenced in the report, instead relegated to the category of “other racial/ethnic groups”?
  • Does PCA see Charlottesville’s Asian community as less politically powerful or important than it does Charlottesville’s Latino community?
  • Are PCA’s “underserved” human sub-divisions truly being welcomed as leaders by PCA elitists, or are they simply relegated to art “consumer” and “audience” status?

A picture is worth a thousand words, and on face value, Piedmont Council for the Arts fails its own racial entrance exam. While race-based pandering is a dangerous game, an organization that overtly preaches racial diversity and inclusivity to the community certainly should overtly practice it internally.

[Schilling Show investigator, Keith Nicoletti, contributed to this report.]

About the Author:

Rob Schilling is founder of The Schilling Show Blog and News; host of WINA's The Schilling Show, heard weekdays from noon to 2 PM; husband; father; and community watchdog.
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29 Comments on "Bad art #1: PCA preaches diversity, practices homogeneity"

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  1. Rob Schilling says:

    Piedmont Council for the Arts Soviet-style Cultural Plan big on racial diversity. PCA Board, not so much. Exclusive analysis.

  2. Ken says:

    The Soviets didn’t invent planning. Planning is common sense.

    Where are the Asians on PCA’s board?

    Which Asians would you have put on the board that weren’t asked? I’ll bet you don’t know.

    with a population 140% that of Latinos in Charlottesville, why were Asians not directly referenced in the report, instead relegated to the category of “other racial/ethnic groups”?

    Probably because on average Asians here have more money and education, which translates into more arts literacy and better access, when they want it, to arts presenters. In other words, compared to Latinos and African-Americans, they aren’t underrepresented or underserved.

  3. Ken says:

    And by the way, there _are_ two Asians on that board.

  4. Skip Degan says:

    strange group

  5. Dave says:

    Ken, just out of curiosity, which two are Asian?

    Here is the list:
    George Beller, President
    Blake Caravati
    James Carnes, Treasurer
    Robert Chevalier
    Tom Cogill
    Julian Connolly
    Arletta Dimberg, Secretary
    Bobbi Dunn, Vice President
    Alex George
    Erica Goldfarb
    Jaime Hawkins
    Tullia Lynch
    Nina Ozbey
    Susan Payne
    Elizabeth Piper
    Donna Plasket
    Jean Wilhelm, Board Member Emeritus
    Bryan Wright

  6. Ken says:

    Dave, I don’t know where that list is from, but if you look at the PDF linked above, there are at least a couple of Asian names, including Toan Nguyen of C’Ville Coffee.

    Rob doesn’t know beans about the arts or the local arts community, which is why he didn’t answer my question. He’s just looking for one more way to bash the people he doesn’t like.

  7. Ken says:

    Thanks for the link. I’m sure there are Asians in the local arts community, but I’m hard pressed to think of any leading lights. They aren’t underrepresented, they’re hard to find.

  8. Dave says:

    LOL

    So your claim about two Asian directors was wrong and unfounded.

    And, your explanation for their absence sounds racist. At the very least, patronizing and politically incorrect…..Do you accept it when a corporation says that it’s “hard to find” minorities or women to be directors and executives?

  9. Ken says:

    Dave, I was wrong that there are two Asians on the board, but right that there are two Asians involved in this plan, which was my point.

    Whether or not a local organization (PCA is not some big corporation) can find minorities or women to be directors and executives depends upon the community it’s in and the business in which it’s engaged. I’m surprised to have to make a conservative point on a conservative web site: quotas are odious, and so is political correctness. Equality isn’t served by pretending that every group should have equal representation in every sphere in every place, but by allowing everyone the freedom to take up whatever pursuits they wish and, in the same spirit, letting leaders arise naturally.

    Asian-Americans are a large part of the arts community in this country, but not so much, to my knowledge, in Charlottesville, which is why there are relatively few of them in this organization. (Take a look, for example, at the artists in the Charlottesville area listed on the PCA web site. That list is open to all artists). If you think I’m wrong, the way to show that is not to call people hypocrites and racists, but to name the people who want to be part of the PCA and aren’t.

  10. Dave says:

    Ken, you shift your story every time it gets undercut. I’m finished.

  11. Ken says:

    My story has stayed the same: there are few Asians in PCA leadership because there are relatively few Asians in the arts around here. I was wrong about one detail and acknowledged it. I also challenged you guys four times – twice point blank – to make your case by naming the people who ought to be in PCA leadership and aren’t. You’re finished, and Rob hasn’t taken up my challenge either, because you can’t.

  12. Tiny one says:

    Two words, Kent: Smug and Insufferable.

  13. the_bluespade says:

    “The Soviets didn’t invent planning. Planning is common sense.”

    What on earth around here gave you that idea? Go ahead, enlighten us. I plan on enjoying the answer either way.

  14. Ken says:

    Uh, let me get this straight, you need me to give you examples of governments and societies that planned before the Soviets did, and to explain to you why it makes sense to plan?

    To be fair, I can understand and respect arguments against top down planning, but that doesn’t mean that this plan, or the idea of planning itself, owes anything to the Soviets. “Soviet” is one of those red meat words used to bypass the thought process and get people mad. Words like “arrogant elitists” and “cronies.”

    But read the actual the document, which notes that the plan “reflects the perspectives of well over a thousand local citizens and community leaders. More than 300 Charlottesville/Albemarle community leaders and residents were directly engaged in a broadly inclusive, nine-month cultural planning process and 1,000 area residents completed online surveys. Planning participants included 191 focus group participants, 29 interviewees, and 83 volunteer leaders working on the Steering Committee, working group, and six Task Forces. The assessment and planning engaged community leaders, business people, educators, artists, creative workers, nonprofit cultural leaders, City and County staff, service organization leaders, philanthropists, youth, audience members, and neighbors.”

    Sounds like diversity and inclusivity to me.

  15. Dave says:

    Despite that diarrhetic torrent of words, it appears that the result is the same-old, same-old.

    Cville is 31% minority (according to the City’s demographic stats that Rob linked). Yet, the PCA Board is less than 10% minority.

    Your explanation for this shortfall is that it’s “hard to find” them? (Or, as you actually said above with respect to Asians, you’re “hard pressed to think of any leading lights.”)

    We all know that a business would be mocked (or worse!) were it to say that it’s “hard to find” minorities or women to be directors and executives.

  16. Ken says:

    OK, so I see you’re changing the subject. What I said is that with respect to Asians I’m hard pressed to think of any leading lights in the local arts community. So are you and Dave, or you’d just name them.

  17. Dave says:

    This is just too good.

    Lack of diversity (in – of all things — an organization that preaches diversity!!!) is OK if………..wait for it……wait for it…….. “IT”S HARD TO FIND LEADING LIGHTS” among the minorities?????

    Progressives everywhere are spinning in their cages.

    :-)

    (And, are you saying that there also aren’t enough black and Hispanic “leading lights” for them to be fully represented?)

  18. Ken says:

    Nope, I didn’t say it’s hard to find leaders among local minorities. Try again.

    Also, I’m not a progressive; I don’t speak for progressives or embrace progressive dogma, as should be clear from this discussion and other things I’ve said on this blog. PCA doesn’t lack diversity as you say it does.

    But in talking about Blacks and Hispanics being “fully represented,” you’re accepting the same Politically Correct standard you’re bashing the PCA for not measuring up to. Again I’ll make the conservative argument, which is the one I agree with: fairness (in this case, in the form of representation) depends on freedom, not quotas. I always say to liberals who automatically equate low numbers of minority participants in certain arts with racism, is it unjust that there aren’t more white people in reggae bands, or is it just that few whites play reggae?

    You’re also missing the obvious point: far from not practicing what they’re preaching, with Create Charlottesville PCA is trying to involve more minorities, trying to increase diversity – trying to do exactly the thing you’re bashing them for not doing. If they’re successful, it’s a sure bet their board and their leadership in general will further diversify. And then some of you people will have to find something else to whack them for. Because as this discussion and so many others on the show make clear, believing all the worst things about them is your real interest.

  19. Dave says:

    Another flood of gibberish.

    Those were your words. You said “I’m hard pressed to think of any leading lights.”

    You’re dishonest in your discussion, and you practice a double standard by excusing sanctimonious PCA on a rationale that is not accepted from businesses.

    Anyone who reads the posts above will get that, and will have contempt for your tactics.

    I’m sure you’ll keep coming back with more nonsense in response. So, have the last word. Your dishonesty is transparent to everyone, though.

  20. Ken says:

    I said “I’m sure there are Asians in the local arts community, but I’m hard pressed to think of any leading lights.” Since we were discussing leaders in the arts community, it should be obvious I was talking about leaders in the arts community. Enough said.

  21. Dave says:

    That’s what I said you said. (But you changed my words, and then, having changed my words, you were able to deny what I didn’t say.)

    I asked — and you still haven’t answered — whether you use that same rationale to explain why blacks and Hispanics are under-represented on the PCA board of directors.

    Is it because, in YOUR words “it’s hard to find them”? And, in YOUR words “I’m hard pressed to think of any leading lights”?

    Can you stay on topic, and give a straight answer to that straight question?

    (Here are the facts: Minorities on PCA board = less than 10%, even though the minority population is greater than 30%. Blacks on PCA board = less than 10%, even though the Black population is 19%. Asians on PCA board = ZERO PERCENT, even though the Asian population is 7%. Hispanics on PCA board = ZERO PERCENT, even though the Hispanic population is 5%.)

    That’s pretty pathetic diversity. PCA seems far whiter than most all Fortune 500 corporations! (And also far more smug, condescending and self-satisfied.)

    Nice that they preach to the rest of us about diversity.

    Like Barbara Streisand and Al Gore preaching to us about saving energy, while they live in mansions and travel in private jets.

    **************

    Again, can you stay on topic, and give a straight answer to the straight question: why are blacks, Asians, and Hispanics so underrepresented on the PCA board?

    (Please spare us another gush of gibberish. A simple, direct answer is better than another fog of driveling nonsense.)

  22. Ken says:

    What words did I change? I didn’t do it intentionally, but if you felt I misrepresented what you said, I apologize. That was not my intention.

    I’ll answer your question even though none of you will answer mine. I‘ve already given what I think is the probable reason there aren’t more Asians in PCA leadership (and none on the board). In regards to Black and Hispanic participation, most people who love art and make art have money and education. For obvious reasons a higher percentage of Whites than Blacks or Hispanics have money and education. This probably explains why there are relatively Blacks and Hispanics in PCA leadership: as with Asians, though for a different reason, they aren’t a large part of the local arts community. Here’s a similar answer, straight from Create Charlottesville: “The arts in Charlottesville tend to divide along race and class lines with resources and transportation as primary limiting factors.”

    Create Charlottesville’s Goal # 1 is reaching out, “building bridges” through, among other ways, “more relevant” programming to “diverse audiences of all ages, including African Americans, Latinos, and a growing number of other racial/ethnic groups.” The idea is to increase access to the arts and bring more people, especially minorities, into the local community of arts community. They can’t lead the community if they’re not already a part of the community. PCA sees a discrepancy and is trying to remedy it. You’re in effect blaming it for the very discrepancy they’re trying to remedy. What sense does that make?

    You also accuse of PCA preaching. That implies they have someone to preach to. Who? You? Are you opposed to increasing minority access to the arts?

  23. Dave says:

    Case closed.

  24. Ken says:

    No, case abandoned without your having the courage to answer my question. A lot of people, when they can’t defend their positions, quit arguing, throw insults, and take their balls and go home. You should have taken a tip from Tiny and gone straight to the insults! :-))

  25. Dave says:

    No, just not interested in playing into your attempted diversionary game.

    Rob’s factual point is made and sustained. You have nothing but fatuous gobbledygook in response.

    Folks can read the posts above and see that.

    And when the game’s over, the ball does go home………

  26. Amused Listener says:

    This thread if hilarious. Ken, as I’ve stated before, I don’t know why you bother when people like Dave will automatically negate everything you think and say simply because YOU say it. And Dave doesn’t seem to have the intellectual wattage necessary to really unpack or consider any of the points you make. It’s like trying to reason with a screaming baby. If the Shilling show serves no other useful purpose (and I don’t think it does), it does highlight the unreasonable nature of conservative condemnation. If you agree with them, you’re a genius and if you don’t you’re a godless communist.

  27. Ken says:

    Listener, I’m always interested in how people behave in debates, by whether they’ll respond to logical arguments with logical arguments in turn, or just label and dismiss what they apparently can’t rebut. I always hope for the former, but what’s really fascinating is the latter, when people make ridiculous charges and seem to think that the very ridiculousness and forcefulness of the charge will substantiate it. I guess they’re playing a variation on the old adage that the big lie is more convincing than the little one – say something outrageous and people will think you must believe what you’re saying so maybe it’s true.

    If I thought these guys didn’t have the brains to think through what I say, I wouldn’t bother saying it. On the other hand, when people lack the intellectual honesty and curiosity to actually consider the other side’s arguments, it comes to the same thing, and otherwise smart people make themselves functionally stupid. In my opinion, a lot of people on both the Left and the Right do this so habitually they don’t even know they’re doing it. They’ve lost the ability to really think.

    I do believe the Schilling Show serves the valuable purpose of challenging the predominant liberalism of Cville powerbrokers. Liberals need to hear from conservatives and vice-versa. On the other hand, the show sets a terrible example, confirming conservatives in the prejudices instead of challenging both sides, and making people think throwing insults instead of making arguments is perfectly respectable.

  28. Not A Lib says:

    Ken, you post and debate just for sake of posting and debating. I’ll give you one thing, you have perseverence. It’s comical. You must have an awful lot of time on your hands. I hope you don’t think that anyone frequenting this website is really dissuaded by your propaganda. Once you post a flat-out untruth in a thread, you really ought to bow out of the discussion because you have lost all credibility you might have had. I find it funny that an amused listener will come along and defend you in this thread.
    By the way, stay on topic, that is, the topic that Rob disicussed, rather than thread-jacking and starting your own…again.
    Take care…

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