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DEIA | Dublin Arts Council is taking DEIA to the Next Level

February 16th, 2023

Dublin Arts Council engages the community, cultivates creativity, and fosters life-long learning through the arts. Janet Cooper is the Director of Engagement. Janet participated in the first cohort of the Chamber Foundation’s Next Level DEIA program. We spent some time with Janet to learn more about the DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and access) work at Dublin Arts Council.

How would you describe the state of DEIA in your organization a year ago?

A year ago, Dublin Arts Council was completing our new strategic plan and evaluating the DEIA work in which we were organically engaged, with a plan to finalize our intent and DEIA plan by 2024.

What have you accomplished thus far?

We have made such strides, in most part due to being involved in the Columbus Chamber’s Next Level DEIA cohort. We’ve learned so much. We completed our DEIA Definitions Exercise, analyzed the results, and used them to develop a vision statement to share with the board. We also used the results to craft a survey we launched last month.

How has the work been received?

The board, staff, and members of the community have been so supportive of this initiative for Dublin Arts Council. It is essential to our mission; to engage the community, cultivate creativity and foster life-long learning through the arts. We define the community as those who live, work, visit, learn, and play in Dublin.

How did the Next Level DEIA program help?

We didn’t have the internal capacity and knowledge to develop our own plan. The Next Level DEIA program provided learning, tools, and support to make this essential part of our organization become reality.

What’s next for the DEIA work in your organization?

Now that we’ve launched the survey, we’ll use the results to inform a DEIA framework for our organization.

In addition, Dublin Arts Council has received an invitation to collaborate with the City of Dublin Police Department and other local partners in Dublin’s “Safe Space” DEIA initiative. We are honored to have been invited to be part of the founding partners in this project. We had made City staff aware of our DEIA efforts as part of the Next Level DEIA cohort. Those conversations led to a personal meeting with the Chief and an invitation to participate in this new program. Thank you for providing the impetus for us to more deeply forge these community connections.

Sherrice Thomas 
Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access