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.


  • Inclusive programming and the context of presenting music by non-white artists
  • The process of seeking out and engaging non-white composers/creative artists
  • Refreshing the selection criteria to represent relevance and impact


  • Representatives experiencing, working in, and/or seeking to participate in building diversity and greater representation of non-white artists in musical presentations (artists, artistic administrators, music/artistic directors, executive directors, producers)
  • Artists seeking a forum for listening, learning, and connection about Racial Equity and Inclusion
  • Community members who want to participate/engage in ACF’s efforts to assess and revise our programs

The Racial Equity and Inclusion Forum is generously supported by an investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


Knight Foundation Logo


Special thanks to the Twin Cities PBS for their support of this event.


Twin Cities PBS (TPT) is located at 172 4th Street East, Saint Paul, MN 55101.

Parking is available in the attached Lowertown Parking Ramp. Entrances to the ramp area on the located between Kellogg and 4th Ave on both Sibley Street and Jackson Street. Take the parking elevators to level P5 for the TPT Lobby.  We are also at the end of the public transit Green Line at the Union Depot stop. Pedestrians may enter at the Fourth Street door. Street parking is limited and is metered Saturdays until at least 6pm.


Saturday, September 7, 2019

8:30am Welcome, Thank you, and Overview of ACF and this convening

Vanessa Rose, ACF President & CEO

Sound Painting: Let’s create music together!  Led by Nirmala Rajasekar*

9:00 – 10:30am The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians: Then and Now

Janis Lane-Ewart, moderator

Ernest Dawkins*, Nicole Mitchell, * Amina Claudine Myers,* Taalib-din Ziyad*

11am – 12:30pm Inclusive Programming: Opportunities, Obstacles, Integration with Artistic Vision

Patrick Castillo*, moderator

PaviElle French,* Delta David Gier, David Hamilton, Jonathan Bailey Holland,* Garrett McQueen, Dameun Strange*

12:30-2pm Lunch Break

2:00 – 3:30pm Seeking Artists: Recruitment, Selection Process, Criteria for Relevance and Impact

Anne Gotte, moderator

Brent Michael Davids,* Gabriela Lena Frank,*  Mary Kouyoumdjian,* Reinaldo Moya,* Eleanor Savage, Laura Zabel

3:45pm Learning from Creative Artists: Our Call to Action 

Justin Laing, Facilitator and Thought Partner & Vanessa Rose

4:25pm Closing: Anne LeBaron*, ACF Board Chair

4:30-5:30pm Reception

*Composer/Creative Artist

Location: Twin Cities PBS (TPT) is located at 172 4th Street East, Saint Paul, MN 55101.