Support Open Space Board of Directors (Interim)

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17 May 2018
To the Board of Directors (Interim) of Open Space:
Many artists, progressives, and equity seeking communities across the country look up to Open Space as a new collaborative model for artist-run culture. We sincerely wish the well being of the organization and the diverse and enthusiastic communities that have contributed to it over the past years. We would like to respond to the letters written by France Trépanier, the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, Kegan McFadden, Trudi Lynn Smith, as well as the letter from the members of Open Space’s interim Board of Directors and the letter from the Canada Council for the Arts.
As members of various sectors of this community, it has been clear to us that the current interim Board members are doing incredibly courageous work in leading the way to re-imagine shared futures between Indigenous peoples, Black peoples, People of Colour, and non-IBPOC people at Open Space. Your work in rebuilding trust across these relationships inspires us. We recognize and respect that the membership of this interim Board reflects the various communities that access Open Space and who we are. We applaud your commitment to work against oppression and systemic racism within the arts in Canada.
Open Space has been put on ‘Concerned Status’ by the Canada Council as stated:
France Trépanier’s resignation and Doug Jarvis’s removal from program coordination represent a sudden and significant change in leadership. These changes also present a significant deviation from Open Space’s initially proposed activities and the very elements for which the peer assessment committee recommended an increase.
Witnessing Open Space’s work being undone is a grave concern to many of us working towards conciliation. This is especially concerning as it undermines and threatens the relationships we have built up among Indigenous peoples, black peoples, people of colour, and non-IBPOC people in the work at Open Space.
We endorse this letter from the Canada Council, we stand in support of your organization's plans to undertake the work of further repairing the relationships described above including the reinstatement of the Aboriginal Curator position.
Building relationships is the most important point of action we can take together in visioning the future of the arts in Canada.
We stand behind you, the Board of Directors (interim) and staff and support you in this work.
With respect,