Dell‘ Arte launches racial equity audit, seeks accountability

Dell’Arte International 

BLUE LAKE – Dell’Arte International has been a part of Humboldt County for almost 50 years, bringing original theatre to our community and educating the next generation of theatre makers through our training programs. 

We have always been an organization in process. We recognize that we must do better at amplifying the voices of artists and activists of color on our stages and in our classrooms. In the coming year and beyond, we will be focusing more on how our theatre and school can radically expand our frame of reference to center more BIPOC and LGBTQAI+ perspectives. 

Our goal is to make DAI an Antiracist organization where BIPOC faculty and students feel and are safe to work, study, and thrive.  

Anything that does not align with Dell’Arte’s statements of antiracism or move our community forward in reconciliation and healing is a distraction and harmful. We realize our silence in recent weeks has created a vacuum in which rumors and opinions become the conversation.

We would like to be clear that Dell’Arte disavows Alexander Ricca’s opinion piece printed in the Times-Standard on Aug. 13, 2020. The ideas he espouses are not representative of where Dell’Arte is at this time and, certainly, not where we are headed.  

Mr. Ricca makes use of second or third hand information that is inaccurate and detrimental to furthering a reparative dialogue. Dell’Arte’s audiences and community represent a wide range of viewpoints, perspectives, and are intergenerational. 

We believe in and welcome a diversity of viewpoints, experiences, opinions, and beliefs, but we must also disable racism, discrimination, and destructive behavior that ignores both historical trauma and personal lived trauma.  

 Our intention is to engage in a process towards racial equity that allows for community input and design a course of action based on recommendations from our community. 

It was recommended by a group of nine current and former staff members that Dell’Arte conduct three racial equity audits: internal, external, and historical. We are putting these recommendations into action and working with an external auditor, which enables us to get a more objective perspective on our small organization. We’ve contracted with Coaching Imperative.

Coaching Imperative “offers tailored solutions to support Diversity & Inclusivity efforts for organizations, executives, teaching and learning, organizing, and allyship” through “culturally responsive coaching that emphasizes adaptive leadership, cultural agility, critical education, and building mindful practice.”

The firm is co-founded by Issac M. Carter, Ph.D., who has experience living and working in Humboldt County with a broad understanding of the historical and contemporary struggles in the area. Dr. Carter lived in Humboldt for seven years, and has family and friends who still reside in the area, including one of his sons. 

Dr. Carter was a co-author of Humboldt State University’s first Diversity Action Plan, and co-advisor of the progressive faculty and staff organization. In addition, he taught several courses focusing on diversity and social justice. 

The Coaching Imperative auditing program was designed to specifically address the recommendations brought forth in the concerns of former and current staff members. It will be an intersectional, qualitative, and quantitative analysis utilizing and informing decolonized policies and practices drawing from BIPOC traditions.

The results from the audits will be informative and foundational in the ongoing training and coaching that will take place at the organization over the next 11 months. The current approach and timeline in summary is as follows: 

• Assessment: Three Audits (External, Internal and Historical) August - Oct. 31, 2020

• Teaching and Training: Decolonizing: Policies and Practices, Nov. 1, 2020 – Jan. 31, 2021

• Coaching: Faculty, Staff, Students and Board, Feb. 1, 2021 – May 1, 2021

• Transitions and Sustainability: Organizational Retreat and Transition, May 1, 2021 – June 31, 2021

We want to embrace transparency and accountability as we set about making the changes we need to make in the year ahead. We are actively inviting feedback from anyone in the community who wants to weigh in on how we’re doing. 

We’ve set up an “Accountability” page on the Dell’Arte website and an email address to solicit feedback from anyone who has a perspective they’d like to share with us. 

The email address is [email protected]. Please send any comments or questions you have about equity at Dell’Arte, so that our staff can be in dialogue with our wider community and respond to your perspectives. This is just one avenue to connect with you; expect added engagement and feedback opportunities over the next year. We are starting here. Your input is welcome. 


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