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Community, Refuge, and Justice at Artisan’s

Charlotte, North Carolina’s Black Lives Matter street art. Courtesy Flickr Commons | Photo: Alex Orellana

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the recognition of the hundreds before him, leadership at Artisan’s has made a commitment to examine White supremacy, racism, and privilege at the Asylum. On June 10, 2020 we stated that,

“Our work as an organization requires multiple layers of commitment and action. We are proud that some of this work began last year. There is more work to do [and] we invite members to be active allies in this work.”

We identified five strategies to advance this work, which we are truly excited to undertake:

  1. 1. Redouble our efforts to ensure that Artisan’s board leadership always reflects the communities we aspire to serve.
  2. 2. Place community justice, equity and inclusion in our strategic plan, ensuring that our programs fulfill these goals.
  3. 3. Increase outreach to our peers of color in the arts, crafts, trades and tech – building alliances that identify, strengthen, and advance our shared goals.
  4. 4. Work to transform our facility and our culture into a space free from institutional bias, where people of color are welcome to bring their whole selves and create freely.
  5. 5. Identify and dismantle the infrastructure of privilege enshrined in our policies and practices.

On June 18, 2020 we began translating our strategies into concrete actions we can take to build a more inclusive, more just – and ultimately a more exciting and more relevant organization. We invite members to:

  1. 1. Form and join a Taskforce on Race, Justice and Inclusionary Practice. Help us craft our agenda and put clear action behind our words.
  2. 2. Join an ad hoc advisory group to review our draft strategic plan; help us enshrine justice, equity and inclusion within our organization goals and priorities.
  3. 3. Make the Asylum a refuge. Work with me to rebrand, removing mental health and incarceration stigma. Support us as a refuge for inclusive creativity for all.
  4. 4. Form and join a Welcome Committee. Help us craft an “All Are Welcome Here” agenda and identify ways to put clear action behind our words.
  5. 5. Join us for a guided workshop on dismantling systemic racism and building up spaces that welcome Black and Brown artists. (I’m working on this, so stay tuned.)

Ready to join the work? Let’s get started!



Questions or suggestions? Please email the Executive Director, Lars Hasselblad Torres at, ed at artisansasylum dot com.