Race Equity in the Arts | Apr 20th
Race Equity in the Arts: - Michael Bobbitt, Executive Director of Massachusetts Cultural Council, led a poignant discussion acknowledging the white favored business model of some arts industries and the steps he uses to change it. Do your discounted tickets still not increase your attendance rate? Do your outreach programs fail to consistently attract multicultural people? According to Michael, programs and policies used to encourage diversity and inclusion are only a bandaid and may fail when the business model is one designed for white people, by white people. It is exclusionary in nature. This session, the Cohort learns how to design a new business model that is inclusive and full of perspective. According to Bobbitt, "...one way to get policies that exist on the bell curve is to make sure that the decision makers are diverse so that you have the perspective in the room..". Build trust amongst multicultual people through action and use the vulnerability there to accept feedback. When building an antiracist plan, you need antiracist ideas. Racism starts with an idea. Then, the idea gets institutionalized and funded. How can we institutionalize non racist ideas?
BIO: Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council
Michael J. Bobbitt has dedicated his professional career to arts leadership. He is a director, choreographer, and playwright. On February 1, 2021 he joined Mass Cultural Council as Executive Director, becoming the highest ranking cultural official in Massachusetts.
Since March 2019 he has served as the Artistic Director of the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown, MA; immediately prior he held the same position at the Adventure Theatre-MTC in Maryland for twelve years. While in Maryland Bobbitt led the organization to be a respected theatre/training company in the DC region, as well as a nationally influential professional Theatre for Young Audiences. He led a merger with Musical Theater Center, increased the organizational budget and audience, commissioned new works by noted playwrights, transferred two shows to Off-Broadway, built an academy, and earned dozens of Helen Hayes Award Nominations, garnering eight wins.
Bobbitt gained extensive experience in non-profit arts management by training at Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management, The National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, and Cornell University’s Diversity and Inclusion Certification Program. He has served as an Associate Professor of Theatre at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and volunteered on numerous non-profit boards, including Non-Profit Village, Maryland Citizens for the Arts, Leadership Montgomery, Weissberg Foundation, Watertown Public Art Commission, and ArtsBoston.
Bobbitt has directed/choreographed at Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Olney Theatre Center, Studio Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Center Stage, Roundhouse Theatre, The Kennedy Center, and the Washington National Opera. His national and international credits include the NY Musical Theatre Festival, Mel Tillis 2001, La Jolla Playhouse, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Jefferson Performing Arts Center, and the Olympics. As a writer his work was chosen for the NYC International Fringe Festival and The New York and Musical Theatre Festival. He has plays published by Concord Theatricals/Rogers and Hammerstein Theatricals, Broadway Publishing and Plays for Young Audiences. Bobbitt has received the Excel Leadership Award (Center for Nonprofit Advancement), the Emerging Leader Award (County Executive’s Excellence in the Arts and Humanities), and Person of the Year Award (Maryland Theatre Guide).