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About 18th Street Arts Center

Our Core Values

We recognize our responsibility to address histories of oppression and resistance that shape privilege and power related to race, gender identity, class, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, ability and national origin. We propose to work towards greater equity through these core values (1):

  • We support artists who empower others, recognizing the capacity of artmaking together to make equitable places of community and reimagine oppressive structures.
  • We value relationships that last beyond funding cycles, knowing that our shared commitment to a different future is long-term.
  • We share our work and our power, acknowledging often unseen labor while distributing leadership and decision-making.
  • We honor solidarity with the marginalized and disenfranchised, and work to center traditionally decentered voices with a sense of humility.
  • We recognize all forms of knowledge, and refuse to rank expertise over experience, the universal over the local, and the absolute over the idiosyncratic. We favor inclusive, expansive, and generative zones of inquiry. (2)
  • We work towards nonexploitative, sustainable processes and practices that reconnect us with the Earth and to one another. (3) 


  • We will create a vibrant learning space where guests can connect and exchange knowledge to gain a greater understanding of the arts, specifically visual arts, and offer reasons for return engagements.
  • We look to integrate platforms and program models (like the book club, the potluck, and the show and tell) that invite multiple kinds of expertise and create a space of dialogue and sharing.
  • We will develop programs that support a dynamic 3rd place where guests can feel more connected to their community and promotes the understanding of racial equity and cultural identities that are not white, cis, European, male, heterosexual.
  • We will foster peer networks as the basis for self-organizing and advocacy.
  • We will adhere to the principles of radical pedagogy, recognizing that everyone starts from a different place and we can all learn from one another.
  • We will take the time to create a safe, accessible space where all feel welcome.
  • We will develop programs/exhibitions in dialogue with community groups, 18th AIR, our partners, Neighborhood Advisory Council, and staff.
  • We will strive to recognize different forms of expertise and put them in dialogue.
  • We will be self-reflective and actively seek feedback from participants in order to improve offerings, think about our core values, equity, impact, and sustainability.

 (1) Adapted from the Museum Education Roundtable: Equity Statement
(2) Adapted from the RAP: Race, Art, and Place initiative at the University of Southern California, originally drafted by Holly Willis.
(3) Adapted from Sasha Costanza-Chock’s Design Justice (MIT Press, 2020).


Our Strategic Plan 2019-2023

Our mission is to provoke public dialogue through contemporary art-making. We believe that:

  • Art making is an essential component of a vibrant, just and healthy society
  • Creative action is a vital part of individual wellbeing
  • Humanity benefits when artists are valued

Please visit here to view our most recent strategic plan.

Our Cultural Equity and Inclusion Policy

Please visit here to view our Cultural Equity and Inclusion Policy, which was adopted in September of 2018 and influenced the development of our core values.

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