Our Commitment to Equity
Seattle Opera cares deeply about eradicating institutional racism and engaging with our community in a way that centers social impact within our art form and beyond. We believe in being leaders in racial equity work among our opera peers nationally, while keeping an open mind to learning and growing in areas where our company needs improvement.
Seattle Opera, in desiring a more equitable world, is committed to fostering equity in our art form. This works includes building, fostering, and sustaining a company that reflects, celebrates, and serves the diverse communities of the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle Opera believes that:
- Opera in the twenty-first century can and should demonstrate today’s values of equity.
- Our ultimate goal is to go beyond inclusion and diversity. Equity means that everyone, including People of Color, have power, influence, and a seat at the table of opera.
- The history of opera includes inherent but not insurmountable challenges to equity. We commit to making every effort to refrain from propagating harmful stereotypes, regardless of what has been done in the past.
- The European origins of opera have created barriers in accessing an art form that should belong to everyone. In particular, these origins have contributed to White storytellers having the most power and influence in representing People of Color. In American opera, these barriers have been further amplified by systemic racism and xenophobia, to name a few. Mirroring Hollywood and other predominantly White art and entertainment, opera has contributed to the oppression, marginalization, and "othering" of non-White people. As a historically White organization, Seattle Opera takes ownership of where it has harmed People of Color, and commits to creating a new path forward.
- In order to better engage with communities of color and other marginalized groups, Seattle Opera must be willing to listen and learn from these groups, and work to build meaningful partnerships.
- Our artistic and community-engagement programming should be socially relevant to today’s audiences, and at times, offer themes that challenge the status quo.
- We are responsible for making opera financially, geographically, and physically accessible to everyone.
- Increasing equity within the arts and cultural sector starts with our own leadership. In order to increase equity, Seattle Opera must continually evaluate and work to transform our leadership, employment, community engagement, and artistic practices such as casting and the selection of creative teams. Seattle Opera is committed to being a change leader among our peers.
Racial Equity And Social Impact Plan
In October 2020, we published our 2020-2023 Racial Equity and Social Impact Plan. This plan was created through a deep internal assessment and external scan involving our staff, Board members, and volunteers. Ultimately, our goal is to integrate racial equity and social impact holistically into all aspects of Seattle Opera’s work and develop mindful efforts that can be made consistently in moving the company forward along the continuum toward becoming an anti-racist and multi-cultural organization. We welcome reactions and feedback from our community. To ensure transparency and accountability, we aim to provide annual reports on our progress. Please send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read Racial Equity Plan
In 2016, Seattle Opera created its Equity Team which includes staff members from all areas and levels of the organization. Seattle Opera’s Equity Team is a space for discussion on race, identity, community, and equity with a foundation of undoing systems of oppression in opera and the arts and culture sector. The team approaches its work through a lens that centers BIPOC voices and narratives of those who are most impacted by oppression and discrimination. In working to decolonize opera, we intentionally decenter whiteness and/or perspectives through a white lens.
The Equity Team operates symbiotically with Seattle Opera’s Racial Equity and Social Impact plan as an integral point for feedback and iteration, but does not solely move the RESI work of the company forward.
Equity Team Purpose
Seattle Opera Resources:
To learn more about equity, diversity, and inclusion work in the US opera industry, read the Opera America resources.
Over the past two years, Seattle Opera has encouraged conversations within our community about the intersection of opera, art, race, and diversity.
Learn more about our next community conversation