Composers Have the Stage at ACF’s Artist Equity Summit

Before I started my role as Executive Director at American Composers Forum (ACF) in January 2019, the organization was noting how seldom our various art industry conferences include, much less amplify, the views of living composers. And there were few opportunities for historically excluded artists to be in a position to lead conversations and highlight their experiences. This led us to pilot a gathering in September 2019 that did just that, the planning of which guided our own (ongoing) internal transformation to be a racially equitable organization. We have continued to host such a gathering each year since 2019. Now branded our Artist Equity Summit, the annual event centers music creators and examines themes related to equity that impact the field and beyond.

On Saturday, September 17, we invite you to join us for our 2022 summit as we focus on “Lifting Up our Youth” through music, dialogue, and community.

Register here

In addition to composers, we partner with community and arts organizations and engage a national audience of artists, presenters, funders, teachers, community leaders, and audience members in topics intersecting with equity and the arts. We hope each person leaves with new artists to connect with, ideas to try in their own ecosystem, and examples of more equitable ways to engage with today’s music creators.

PaviElle French--Photo by Sharolyn B. Hagen Photography

PaviElle French–Photo by Sharolyn B. Hagen Photography

The 2022 Artist Equity Summit is the culmination of artist PaviElle French’s residency with six St. Paul-based arts organizations working together as a group for the first time. Liberation! Lifting Up our Youth is French’s vision, and comes out of our collective need and responsibility to empower our young people and give them a platform.  At the summit, students from Purple Playground and TruArtSpeaks will perform original works created in workshops with French and other collaborators.

We’re excited to have one of the residency partners hosting this in-person and live streamed event! Walker West Music Academy’s mission is to create a music learning community rooted in the African-American cultural experience. Claim Our Space is producing the event for us.

We will share more information about our new intergenerational commissioning partnership with The Juilliard School’s Pre-College and the New York Philharmonic – Composing Inclusion – as well as other examples of lifting up our youth through the creative process with composer Jessica Mays, arts leader Stanford Thompson, and PaviElle French.

Composing Inclusion Composers

Composing Inclusion composers Andrés Soto, Jasmine Barnes, James Díaz, Jordyn Davis, Thomas Flippin, Elijah J. Thomas, Patricia Martinez, Lauren McCall, Nicolas Lell Benavides, and Trevor Weston

This event is also an opportunity for ACF to deliver our annual “report card” on how we are making progress, learning from our failures or oversights, and inviting you, our community, to keep us accountable. Garrett McQueen, ACF’s Equity Committee Chair and board member, will join me for the presentation. (See last year’s report here.)

Lastly, we’ll give you a preview of what is to come next year! We hope you will join us in-person at Walker West in St. Paul or online. Registration is free for all attendees. Take a few minutes to register now!

About American Composers Forum

ACF envisions a world where living music creators are celebrated as essential to human culture. Through our national platform and networks, ACF amplifies the inspiring artists and artistic work happening in our community and connects them with others. Discover more on our website.

Thank you to our Funders

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Generous support has also been provided by Bill and Susan Sands, the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation, and the Lillian Wright and C. Emil Berglund Foundation.


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, funded with generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF. 

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