Reimagining Grantmaking to Advance Equity

In 2019, Laura Way became the president and CEO of ArtsGreensboro, one of our state’s local arts councils, and immediately began implementing changes. North Carolina has one of the most highly developed networks of local arts councils in the country. For over half a century, we have provided funding and technical assistance to encourage arts organizations to deliver multiple ways to broaden, deepen and diversify participation in the arts in local communities. The larger local arts councils in the state are grant-makers, providing Grassroots Arts Funds along with additional sources of funding to support and strengthen arts activities in their counties.

Laura’s previous experience as Executive Director of GreenHill Center for North Carolina Art, a funded partner of ArtsGreensboro, gave her a unique outsider perspective. She was well aware of the inequities in grant funding and was committed to implementing change. Her commitment to DEAI work began earlier in her career, but during the pandemic, Laura and her staff took that commitment to a new level by redistributing grant funds with the goal of addressing structural inequities and increasing philanthropic overall support for BIPOC artists and arts organizations.

Arts Across NC is a podcast by and about the North Carolina Arts Council. Founded in 1967 with the democratic vision of “arts for all citizens,” the North Carolina Arts Council sustains and grows the arts for the benefit of North Carolinians and their communities. Join us as we celebrate the rich history of the arts across North Carolina.

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