2019 Artist Equity and Inclusion Summit
As an organization dedicated to living musical creators and cultivating a community for their work to thrive in, ACF strives to be diverse, inclusive, and equitable like many in our shared ecosystem. To do so, however, we must acknowledge the historical exclusion of non-white artists in the musical world - particularly Western European-based classical music - and provide a platform to the very artists we seek to support. We invite our community of artists, partners, colleagues, and leaders to join us in listening, learning, and discovering tangible ideas to activate more racially inclusive and equitable opportunities for creative musical artists today.
Artist Equity Summit 2021: Follow Through
This past year we saw some positive change happen among many commitments to achieving greater equity (including ACF). Now, we’re seeing some of that enthusiasm wane while also experiencing strong backlash to these movements.
How do we persist and resist the inertia pulling us back into our flawed systems and exclusionary practices? What does real follow through on the commitments of this past year look like? For our own work, how do we ensure artists are being invited, included, and presented in an equitable way?
Artist Equity Summit May 2021: Twin Cities Arts Leaders
Local arts and cultural organizations play an essential role in our communities. In difficult times, they often act as the elastic thread in the fabric of the community that keeps it together. The spaces they create act as amplifiers for the voices and archivists of community history and transformation. They serve, through their storytelling, as places of healing. 2020 was a year that highlighted the importance of these treasured institutions. As we have reached out to artists and leaders in our community, we hear a consistent need and desire to connect with one another and support each other in these times. ACF seeks to share our platform to bring our circles together and build relationships, share experiences, and strengthen our work through dialogue and artmaking.
Equity Study Groups
As an organization dedicated to living musical creators and cultivating a community for their work to thrive in, ACF strives to be diverse, inclusive, and equitable like many in our shared ecosystem. To do so, however, we must acknowledge the historical exclusion of non-white artists in the musical world – particularly Western European-based classical music – and provide a platform to the very artists we seek to support. On Saturday, September 7, 2019 we invited artists, partners, colleagues, and leaders to join us in listening, learning, and discovering tangible ideas to activate more racially inclusive and equitable opportunities for creative musical artists today.
We wanted to continue the conversation and began hosting monthly book club meetings and when we decided to add different media we introduced our monthly Equity Study Groups. These gatherings are a space of learning no matter what your experience with equity and inclusion is. Please join us as we continue to expand our circle for music creators!
Racial Equity Report Card
In September 2020, ACF published a comprehensive Statement of Commitment to Racial Equity that illustrated the organization’s intentions and outlined ACF’s actionable goals embedded within its five-year strategic framework. The statement and its accompanying glossary of terms are a result of an 18-month process of learning, focus groups, and public forums that build on critical race theory and other resources shared in the statement.
Since releasing the statement The ACF Board, staff, and our Equity Committee, a working group comprised of both board and staff positions, have stewarded and monitored the progress towards our goals. We have achieved some successes, learned from failures, and are working to discuss policies and decisions that challenge our assumptions in as public a forum as possible to broaden industry visibility into this critical work.
Statement of Commitment
ACF envisions a world where living music creators are celebrated as essential to human culture. To do this, we support and advocate for individual artists/groups who are creating music today that demonstrates the vitality and relevance of their art. We connect artists with collaborators, organizations, audiences, and resources both fiscal and otherwise. Through storytelling, publications, recordings, hosted gatherings, and industry leadership, we activate equitable opportunities for artists, highlighting those who have been historically excluded.
We identify as a go-to space for artists who create music throughout the U.S. and its territories. However, we realize we have failed to include and recognize many artists as being a part of our community because of our own biases, exclusive practices, and historic focus on Western European classical* music created by artists who are majority white. This has made us less effective in being that go-to space. It means that we have missed out on building relationships with many music creators, too.
The centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment provides an opportunity for the American Composers Forum (ACF) and I CARE IF YOU LISTEN (ICIYL) to celebrate this historic moment while highlighting the complexity of women’s suffrage and exclusion to participation, even in 2020. From August 18 (the ratification date) through the presidential election on November 3, ACF and ICIYL will invite today’s women, trans, and nonbinary artists to share what the 19th Amendment means to them through UNEVEN MEASURES, a series dedicated to advancing intersectional gender equity in 2020, prioritizing racial equity.