About Arts & Culture Roundtables

The arts are an integral and powerful tool in helping communities reflect, grow, and heal, but first, we need to examine how our local arts community excludes some of the most relevant voices. The roundtable series began with two community-guided conversations to get a sense of the perceptions and realities within our arts community. Following roundtables have been planned in response to the needs that arose from those initial conversations. Ultimately, we hope participants will gain new perspectives and information, find inspiration to create change in their organizations and communities, and garner a newfound connection with other artists and arts professionals for support and resource-sharing. 

Arts & Culture Roundtables are planned in response to the larger need to address harmful systems of power. It is our responsibility to acknowledge our community’s history and actively gather to have courageous conversations about its current state of exclusion, inclusivity, and representation. Through this series of roundtables, we want to better understand and acknowledge the inequalities that exist in Lane County’s arts community. We are striving to:

  • Take an honest look at the issues and challenges in our own arts communities
  • Identify strategies to improve equity, accessibility, and representation in our own practices, programs, operations, and organizational cultures
  • Recognize gaps and identify existing resources and support for artists and arts professionals
  • Cultivate space for the voices of black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) and other underrepresented community members to be heard

Previous Roundtable Topics & Presenters Included:

  • Roundtable Kickoff Community Conversations, led by Ritu Roy and Eric Braman
  • Empowered Spaces, a Panel Discussion with local BIPOC Artists and Advocates
  • Finding Our Why, led by by Sarai Johnson
  • Two-part Series on the Tenets of White Supremacy, led by Ayisha Elliott
  • Art & Activism, led by Eric Richardson
  • Building Bridges, a Panel Discussion with Minority Voices Theatre and illioo Native Theatre
  • Yesterday to Tomorrow, a Panel Discussion with local BIPOC Arts Leaders

Archival Recordings

2021 Two Part Roundtable Series with Ayisha Elliott, Recordings

We encourage you to watch this series with presenter Ayisha Elliott.

Together we explored a conversation around white savior complex and where our relationships to privilege can complicate our intentions and our collective impact. In this two-part series, Ayisha, skilled in creating spaces where vulnerability, honesty, and courage can thrive, provided essential reflection and inquiry to support all attendees in understanding the deep and layered relationship of privilege and racism.

Opening performances by: Part I, Maree Beers & Jaida Beers; Part II, Ratie D.

Part I Recording
Part II Recording

2023 Education Roundtable with Eric Richardson, Recording

Eric Richardson led a thoughtful conversation around history, civic engagement, and the links between art and activism. Participants took time to look back at the legacy of advocacy in American history leading to the context we are operating in today. Through a mindset of possibility and opportunity, participants discussed the roles each of us can play in being responsible community members and collective advocates for progress. The arts, by nature, build bridges of connection and empathy. By advocating for a just society that is inclusive and respectful of all members, we in turn advocate for the heart of the arts.

Opening performance by m5vibe.

Roundtable Recording

2023 Arts Panel Roundtable with Minority Voices Theatre and illioo Native Theatre, Recording

Creative leads from illioo Native Theatre and Minority Voices Theatre sat down to answer questions about building bridges in the creative process. Both of these theatres have a mission of raising voices of underrepresented stories in our community and are co-led by a BIPOC leader and white advocate. It takes thought, intention, selflessness, and good communication to work in effective partnerships. Questions from and conversations with the audience were welcomed and encouraged! Panel participants included: Marta Lu Clifford, Theresa May, Stanley Coleman, and Carol Dennis; with facilitation by Eric Braman

Opening performance by SatPavan Kaur Khalsa.

Roundtable Recording

2023 Arts Panel Roundtable with Local Arts Leaders, Recording

Arts leaders from the Lane County community answered facilitator and audience questions about justice-oriented artistic work. In considering the theme of “Yesterday to Tomorrow,” the panelists shared perspective from their connections to various communities, art forms, and lived experiences and how these coalesce with their current artistic work. Panel participants included: Pamela Quan (DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon), Jessica Zapata (Eugene Arte Latino), Kunu Bearchum (Multimedia Producer and Artist), Ziree Sun/Dez Brock (Musician and Drag Artist); with facilitation by Melissa Cariño

Opening performance by Ziree Sun.

Roundtable Recording