Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Committee Year 2 Update

The Division of the Arts’ Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Committee was formed to turn our commitment to embrace and serve all members of our diverse arts community into meaningful action. The Committee is open to all Division staff members to engage in voluntarily, has a rotating facilitator, and moves recommendations and action items forward. The Division views IDEA work as integral to everything we do, recognizing that addressing racism and dismantling systems of oppression is an ongoing process, both for individual staff members and the organization. 

Here are a few of the things we are celebrating from this past year:

  • Chris Walker was appointed Director, and enacted his vision of the Arts for Everyone, Everywhere, with a focus on access, advocacy and innovation.
  • In collaboration with all of the Division of the Arts staff, we drafted a new statement reflecting the importance of anti-racist values in our work.
  • The Division put systems in place to receive support requests, which led to a 400% increase in financial and in-kind sponsorships for campus units and student organizations.
  • We initiated a self-assessment utilizing the Badger Anti-Racist Coalition‘s pilot rubric. This program facilitates organization around the questions: how are we perpetuating racism and oppression right here in our workplace, and what can we do to change that?
  • During three residencies, we engaged two BIPOC artists as residents and 26 BIPOC artists as residency guests through the Division’s Arts Residency Programs.
  • In September 2021, we launched the Artivism Student Action Program (ASAP), which provides immediate financial support for student-led, art-based interrogations of longstanding oppressions, biases, and inequities. Within just one month, all funds had been awarded to a variety of arts projects.

We continue to concentrate on five areas to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and access initiatives in the Division: communications, outreach, workplace, programming, and student support. Below is a list of the initiatives we prioritized during the 2021–22 academic year.


  • Clearly articulated IDEA priority in the Division’s mission, vision, and core values
  • Published regular updates on IDEA webpage on Division website
  • Continuously amplified BIPOC artists and heritage month celebrations on campus via Division e-newsletters and social media channels


  • Doubled advertising spend in diverse local media outlets focused on BIPOC and LGBTQ communities (including The Cap City Hues, Madison Vibra, La Comunidad News, Madison365, and Our Lives) from AY 2020-21 to AY 2021-22, including an Investor Level Membership with Madison365 valued at $5,000.
  • Sponsored student multicultural initiatives and programming including: Black History Month Keynote: An Evening with Ruth E. Carter; Wisconsin Black Student Union Ebony Ball with Sybrina Fulton; Kinabukasan: Our Future is Now | Midwest Filipino American Summit (MFAS); and WUDSTOCK: Isaiah Collier concert 
  • Maintained memberships in local organizations, including the Latino Chamber of Commerce and the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce 
  • Members of Division staff volunteered at 2022 Madison Juneteenth celebration 


  • All staff met or exceeded required 12 hours of professional development in diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Read the book Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown and held a staff retreat, facilitated by Ali Muldrow
  • 7 Division staff members gave a combined $500 donation to the Center for Black Excellence and Culture, in addition to individual contributions to other organizations


  • During Arun Luthra’s fall 2021 Interdisciplinary Arts Residency, Luthra taught students about the musical form of konnakol and Black American Music, the universality of rhythm, and the impact of colonization
  • During Judy Frater’s spring 2022 Interdisciplinary Arts Residency, residency students learned about fashion’s environmental impact, sustainability, and collaborated with artisans in India to co-design textiles, culminating in a free, public exhibition
  • Presented International Visiting Artist Omari ‘Motion’ Carter (Spring 2022), whose residency focused on hip hop dance culture, screendance, and body-percussion
  • Added UW–Madison Institutional Statement on Diversity to calls for applications for the 2022 Arts Business Competition; added language to encourage applications from as diverse a group of eligible campus arts community members as possible
  • Presented three Arts Together events, gathering in community and showcasing diverse arts faculty research
  • Engaged with 13 visiting artists during The Studio Seminar, featuring artists from a range of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity
  • Launched The Mind Set, a student-produced podcast inviting The Studio Creative Arts Learning Community alumni to discuss their projects, experiences, and insights as artists and activists, including a Professional Practice Roundtable (episode 6), featuring 6 professional artists from diverse backgrounds and practices on what it takes to become and remain and professional artist
  • Integrated student performances into the 2022 Creative Arts Awards ceremony, which featured graduates and undergraduates, majors and non-majors, showcasing a diversity of disciplines and identities 

Student Support

  • Launched the Artivism Student Action Program (ASAP), establishing a funding opportunity for student work that demonstrates strong intersections of art and activism, supporting 10 projects totaling $20,000
  • Maintained financial support for undergraduate and graduate student arts research through the Creative Arts Awards, totaling $24,000