Message from the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival Board of Directors
July 02, 2020
We, the Board of the Directors of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, are deeply sorry for the distress, anger and disappointment we have caused the PuSh and broader arts communities. We hear your concern and your outrage. You have called into question PuSh’s longstanding commitment to ensuring that the voices of Indigenous and Black folks, people of colour, and women are as vital to our operations as they are to the art we curate.
Thank you for your patience. We have been listening to you – your phone calls, your posts, and your letters. You have rightly held us accountable for recent decisions and the manner in which they were communicated; they were not consistent with our core values. We have struggled, individually and as a Board, with what has transpired, and to see a path forward that does right by the organization and the community. We recognize, however, that we are responsible for the long-term, deep and difficult work required to dismantle the systemic inequities embedded in our culture and to decentre white voices across our organization.
We know that to move forward in a good way, we must move forward with a fundamental commitment to transparency and open communication. To that end, we must share with you that Artistic and Executive Director Franco Boni, is no longer employed by the PuSh Festival. While we appreciate the contributions Franco made to the Festival during his time with us and wish him great success, we acknowledge that the work ahead requires new leadership.
As a board, we may be stewards of PuSh but, like many arts organizations, PuSh belongs to its audience members, staff, artists, partners, donors and funders, and volunteers. We know you had hoped to see an action plan, but we cannot in good faith provide such a plan in this moment. PuSh commits to outlining an initial framework for this transformative process, after meaningful consultation and collaboration with staff, our colleagues and the community. We are grateful to the leaders in our national and local arts communities, along with our donors and supporters, who have reached out to offer to engage with us.
You will hear more from us in advance of our 2020 AGM.
We hope you are willing to continue to hold us accountable as together we ensure that our Festival, in its art and in every facet of its operations and leadership, will again achieve our most fundamental vision of being an example of, and a catalyst for, positive cultural and community development.