After attending Salvador Acevedo’s session, The New Mainstream: How Changing Demographics Are Shifting Your Community, at our Annual Convention in San Antonio this past weekend I learned that there are already five minority majority states in the U.S., and they’re not little.
California, Texas, New Mexico, District of Columbia, and Hawaii all currently have less than a 50 percent White population. This is a huge shift considering that America’s population was about 90 percent White up to the 1970s. It has since declined to 60 percent and continues to follow this pattern. The Hispanic population on the other hand is growing rapidly with an estimated 167 percent growth by 2050 (142 percent Asian, 56 percent Black, 1 percent White).
How does this affect the arts?
Well it proses a huge problem when less than 50 percent of our nation’s population is White, yet your audience is 70–90 percent White. As Salvador said, “we must diversify our audiences, otherwise we will become irrelevant.”
As “prime vehicles for intercultural understanding” (my favorite quote from the session), arts and culture will not survive if it does not reflect our population as a whole. So how do we prevent ourselves from becoming irrelevant?
You must practice what you preach. The change must start internally within your organization before you can start to diversify your audience. Salvador calls this the “intercultural strategy.” Read the rest of this entry »