Policy on Racism and Discrimination

Hewnoaks strives to be an inclusive space for artists. We endeavor to welcome and uplift those who have historically been marginalized. We believe that people can be more creative and innovative when they feel respected and included. Our goal is to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment where all residents and staff can comfortably engage and build community.

We know implicit bias penetrates every layer of American society, including the arts and nonprofit sectors. We recognize artists from marginalized communities have often been denied equitable access to opportunities for educational and professional advancement. Hewnoaks is in a unique position to foster diversity, equity and inclusion among arts communities in the state of Maine. Because we understand that recognition, safety, and mutual respect are essential to free expression, Hewnoaks will make every effort to safeguard artists from prejudice, discrimination, and antagonistic behavior. More specifically, Hewnoaks will take the following action steps:

-Provide ongoing education and training for the Board, staff, and residents to increase cultural competency.

-Establish a Board Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion whose mission is to translate our organizational ideals into meaningful actions. Priorities include: recruitment of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), disabled, and LGBTQ+ individuals as residents, Board, and advisory group members; to examine Hewnoaks’ internal and external processes and amend practices that contribute to structural racism, abelism, and discrimination.

-Build partnerships with institutions that share our values to develop opportunities for marginalized artist communities in the state of Maine.

-Recruit a diverse panel of jurors and re-design the artist selection process to promote inclusivity and diversity in our residency program. Re-assess the ways in which applications are rated by jurors to reduce implicit-bias and discrimination.

We at Hewnoaks understand that, while essential, this work will be very challenging. Each constituent of our community – Board, staff, residents, and alumni – needs to be engaged on a sustained basis and be willing to interrogate and reconsider how we understand the issues and solutions. While the work may make some of us uncomfortable at times, we recognize that it will make Hewnoaks a better and stronger institution.