In the wake of the death of George Floyd, many companies and individuals have expressed their support for racial equality and police accountability. As a minority- and woman-owned business, the struggle to advance social justice is not new to us, as we have faced such challenges personally and professionally more than we care to admit. "Black Lives Matter" is more than a slogan or talking point to us--it is a statement of personal survival. We privately contribute to causes, and engage with local, state, and national organizations, and the government, to promote social justice, including Black Lives Matter. Always have--always will.
We have taken steps and have supported efforts to combat the effects, whether incidental or intentional, of systemic racism. Not just today or this week, or this month--always. To go a step further, the challenges facing people of color, women, LGBTQ people, and other minorities are well-documented. And we stand in staunch support. To paraphrase the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." But the "bending" requires persistence, joint action, and moral courage.
For our business, our activism occurs in the context of what we do as an art consulting firm. Though our business does not directly affect public policy the way others may, nAscent Art makes a difference where we can. Our work every day makes a difference to the artists and vendors we support, to the clients who trust us to be their art consulting firm, and to the viewers of the art we curate and place. But we can do more.
Because some artists prefer to be chosen based solely on the quality of their artwork without regard to their personal background, we have never asked artists to reveal their ethnicity, religious affiliation, or gender identity. Though we cannot force any client to buy any artwork, let alone artwork by underrepresented artists, we have always offered artwork by artists representing a range of backgrounds, from dozens of countries. That said, we feel we can do a better job of outreach and tracking to give clients the opportunity to make better choices in the realization of their projects, and to give artists the opportunity to fill gaps previously unable to be filled. For example, recently a client chose to re-evaluate the collection of artists they selected for their project to ensure more broad-based representation. We applaud and appreciate such efforts, and encourage all buyers of artwork to do the same. But still, we can do more.
Effective immediately, nAscent Art will redouble our efforts to engage in positive outreach to underrepresented artist communities to better round out the variety of artists we offer. Also, artists will have the option to volunteer information about their personal background to clients who request the information. In the past, we have focused on how art fits the brief of our client, and we will continue to do so. But by taking these steps, we hope to advance the cause of social justice in the way we are best positioned--through our work as an art consultancy.
In addition to the range of public policy work needing to be done, we encourage all our supporters to reach out to real estate developers and hotel brands, and recommend that they consider both minority-owned art consultancies and underrepresented artists for their projects.
nAscent Art will continue the quiet work of bringing the best art by the best artists to our clients. We will do our work as a minority- and woman-owned business, proactively including artists of all races, creeds, gender identities, and religious affiliations.
We look forward to a day when the eradication of injustice in all its forms, but especially of racism, is more than a meme, clickbait, or an Instagram story. We look forward to a day when a statement of support for racial equality is not a political statement or performance, but an unnecessary statement of the obvious.
In the meantime, the struggle will continue. Until we live in a world where people agree that Black Lives Matter, we must all take steps that matter to erase racism and social inequity.
June 14, 2020
nAscent Art New York, Inc.