Dear High Concept Labs family and friends,

As an incubator supporting artists to create work, HCL is fundamentally a learning space. We are committed, now more than ever, to taking our core values and mission off the paper and putting them into action.

The COVID-19 pandemic decimating Chicago has laid bare the systemic racism and inequality in our community. These past months we have begun the work of educating ourselves personally and organizationally about racial equity and justice.

We do so as a consequence of the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and so many others, and from arriving at an understanding of how these atrocities illuminate White supremacy. We also see that colorblind universalism and our habit of denial about violence to Black persons are part of the problem.

HCL stands with Black Lives Matter. We are committed to the dismantling of harmful, exclusionary practices that no organization, including HCL is exempt from, and we understand that anti-racist work is a permanent, ongoing effort.

The first steps we have begun on the journey toward representation and equity are to:

  1. Accelerate efforts to ensure HCL residencies are accessible to Black, Indigenous, Latino, and other artists of color.
  2. Raise the Artistic Advisory Council membership to reach majority representation by BIPOC by our next application review, and provide honorariums.
  3. Be involved with the local issues where HCL runs, partners operate, and where we live, including Pilsen, Woodlawn, Hyde Park-Kenwood, and Humboldt Park.
  4. Evaluate the tracking systems as currently practiced to ensure we are able to hold ourselves to measurable account for equity.

To truly evolve, we recognize we must open our process, invite collaboration and model transparency. Please let us hear from you at Together, we can follow Black leadership in building a culture modeled on inclusion, generosity and abundance.

Yolanda Cesta Cursach Montilla

with Missi Davis, Managing Director
and the High Concept Labs Staff and Board; Kevin Simmons, Peter Taub, Linnea Carlson, Angelique Grandone, Izabella Redzisz, Gabriela Suarez, Janet Weiss, and Jakob Laukhuf