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IAFS Guiding Principles

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The following evolving document emerged from our Fall 2020 cornerstone course, “How to Become a 21st Century Art School” (#what-we-loved) in conversation with numerous art school alumni.

Our commitment to these principles allows us to become a safe, supportive, leader-full, and non-hierarchical organization that sustains a free and accessible art school and community of mutual aid.

Community Principles – Who we are

1. We are a community that wants to make art together.
2. We aim to develop a community of care, kindness, healing, and trust that strengthens our creativity and capacity for collective action and resistance.
3. We are inspired by the Bay Area’s radical spirit and invested in participating in our communities wherever we find them.
4. We acknowledge the fullness of our feelings by rubbing our hearts.

Creative Principles – How we make

5. We invite the exploration of all media and genres without gate keeping.
6. We appreciate the development of technique to form deeper connections between craft and concept.
7. We engage in mature practices of open mindedness, patience, and productive critique to co-create powerful languages of engagement and empowerment.
8. We grow our understanding of history and critical theory through reading, dialog, and listening to push our art practices to make meaningful differences in the present.

Structural Principles – How we organize

9. We undertake the organization of our school as a form of art.
10. We make decisions democratically and administer and implement them cooperatively.
11. We commit to honest communication and transparent information.
12. We deepen–not just grow–our community, at an intentional pace that supports enjoyment, inclusion, participation.
13. We practice decolonization and resistance toward historic systems of oppression and how they may inform current conditions and our relationships with one another.
14. We seek to connect our school with other free schools and similarly principled organizations in other fields to sustain larger networks for sharing.

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