Last Saturday I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon with KBMP staff and students passing out applications and making art at the National Coming Out Day celebration. Not only was it a great way to spend an afternoon, but to me KBMP’s attendance at the event represented the program’s active effort to create a diverse environment that is both safe and accepting.
I feel that KBMP does a good job of creating an environment in which young artists can feel safe. Tolerance and nonjudgmental attitudes are crucial in the studio because not only is it a space with real diversity (in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, etc.) but it is also a place where people are putting their ideas and emotions on display every day via their art. In my time at KBMP I’ve felt the tolerant attitude that permeates the space.
I believe that the creation of a safe and accepting environment is not so much an achievement as is it is an ongoing process. While I think that KBMP is doing a good job in this process there is always room for improvement. I believe that this process starts with individual reflection and rather than impose what I think, I’ll conclude by asking a few questions for community members: what can we do as individuals to be conscious of those around us? What makes us as individuals feel safe and how can we do that for others? Lastly, how can we have meaningful dialogues about tolerance and acceptance?