We are visionaries. We are activists.
We have a voice.
This is our story.
It all started with a reflection when we were coming out of the first lockdown of the 2020 pandemic. We saw a need to address the status of outreach and engagement of oppressed groups within the opera industry. We sat down to talk about life, the pandemic, and the new need to look inward at ourselves and understanding our own roles in equity, that had been sparked in so many others, as a result of the space that the BLM movement had created for this thought and realization. We took the time to speak about how we felt as a result of a collective need for a better world and to speak about how people like us, as members of oppressed groups, have been treated in our industry.
One thing that really sparked OIR was a discussion around how we got into music.
We spoke on how sad it is that so many will never get the chances we had in the arts because of social status, economic status, geographical status, race, and other barriers. We knew that for too long, outreach had been overlooked in the opera industry. Instead of talking about it and waiting for someone to do something about it, we decided to get our resources together and figure it out on our own.
We decided to create an educational collective dedicated to instilling future generations with the values that support everything we stand for: equity, diversity, inclusivity, justice, and accessibility.
We wanted to connect with minority communities, educational institutions, opera companies, other collectives, and our colleagues in hopes of creating a space free of barriers and limitations due to ones identity. We would go on to create digital programming that supports our values and make it accessible to students who need it the most. We recruited mentors from across the country to inform our audience with the vast knowledge they bring to the conversation. Above all, we want to be seen as a collective that uplifts and nourishes artistry that is informed but not defined by its identity.