“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” - Angela Davis
During Women’s History Month, I am reminded of the power of women to change what they cannot accept. It has been women who have powered the development and implementation of everything about ARTE NOIR, seeking to make a change in both female leadership in the arts and Black ownership in the community. We have never accepted an inability to make a change. Women collaborated to start this publication. Women have overwhelmingly donated to our efforts to build the brick-and-mortar space, including women who wrote checks because they believed in our mission and women who lead philanthropic entities that directed funds to us. Women have made history with us and they continue to encourage and support the history we still hope to make.
In 2020, Tram Nguyen wrote a short article for Grantmakers in the Arts, Trust Black Women: How Black Female Artists, Arts Workers, and Cultural Leaders are Conspiring to Reshape the World.
Nguyen writes a summary of a GIA session of the same title, and even though this is not a new topic, the concept remains ever-powerful: Trust women! And when we trust Black women, what we get as a bonus is the love with which we approach what we call work. Arts powerhouse and leader Lisa Yancey summed it up this way, “We say ‘the work,’ but it’s really the love, because we’re not outside what we’re here to do. These are my sisters. The things they’re calling the work, it’s our family.”
This Women’s History Month we celebrate six months since opening our doors, and we’re coming up on the two-year mark since launching this publication. We don’t overlook the fact that there are plenty of men who have shown us love, but it has been the women who have dipped into an endless well of love and care that has sustained us. You’ve given us our flowers in ways that we will never have adequate words to describe.
I sit in deep gratitude for the history of women. For their love, discernment, patience, trust, collaborative spirits, the pain they endure, and the joy they create. To all the women who have joined us in changing the things we could not accept, we say thank you for your trust in us. This could not have happened without your love for us, and the work!