Culture is a human right. As expressed in the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community.” It is our sacred duty to remove impediments to the exercise of this right and to ensure that the means to exercise this right are available to all. In a cultural democracy, we are obliged to monitor the impact of public and private actions with these duties in mind.
Culture is created by everyone. The art, customs, creative expressions, and social fabric of every community and heritage contribute to the vibrancy and dynamism of our common culture. Our cultural institutions and policies should reflect this, rather than privileging favorites.
Cultural pluralism is a social good and the wellspring of free expression. Its support and protection require equitable distribution of public resources, particularly to correct past injustices and balance an excess of commercialization. Cultural equity means full inclusion, participation, and power-sharing in all of our communities and institutions.
Culture is the sum-total of public, private, individual, and collective action. We seek balance so that no sector dominates or controls cultural expression or access to cultural resources. We advocate an arts ecology in which all sectors work together to support cultural development for the benefit of all.
The work of artists is a powerful resource for community development, education, healthcare, protection of our commonwealth, and other democratic public purposes. Indeed, artists’ skills of observation, improvisation, innovation, resourcefulness, and creativity enhance all human activity. We advocate complete integration of arts-based learning in public and private education at all levels. We advocate public service employment for artists and other creative workers as a way to accomplish social good, address unemployment, and strengthen social fabric. We support artists who place their gifts at the service of community, equity, and social change.