Access and inclusion have been central to the Grant Park Music Festival’s mission since its founding in 1935. Envisioned as “the people’s orchestra” of Chicago, the Festival annually produces ten weeks of concerts and related programs throughout the city—presented for free, and open to all. However, we are aware that our admission-free operating model, as unique as it is in our industry, does not ensure that the city’s rich diversity is present in all facets of the Festival.
We acknowledge that to be truly the people’s orchestra of Chicago, we must increase efforts to foster an equitable and inclusive culture in which everyone feels valued—regardless of age, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, ability, or socio-economic status; and that they belong.
We also believe it is imperative to recognize and help dismantle the racism that exists within the classical music world. We pledge to advance anti-racism at the Festival and empower those who have been historically marginalized to participate in and contribute their ideas, viewpoints, and creativity to the Festival’s artistic programming, strategic planning, and growth.
We are committed to a number of concrete actions geared toward advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging in three key areas of the Festival outlined below. To help guide this vital work, align our priorities with resources, and keep us accountable, the Festival established a standing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Committee, comprising representatives from the board, staff, musicians, and greater Chicago community.
Recognizing that this is an ongoing effort, we look forward to building on our plans as we continue to make progress, learn, and engage with diverse talent, thought, and leadership.
ON OUR STAGES
• Annually present concert seasons that feature diverse composers and guest artists.
• Increase diversity among the musicians of the orchestra and chorus.
• Advance Festival musicians’ understanding, ownership, and empowerment of our commitment to DEIB.
• Expand and shine a spotlight on the Festival’s fellowship program.
• Cultivate mutually beneficial partnerships to better reflect and serve the cultural life of our city’s diverse population.
WITHIN OUR STAFF AND BOARD
• Increase diversity among our Board of Directors, year-round and seasonal administrative staff, and volunteer participants.
• Maintain a commitment to ourselves and each other to continue learning, and advancing our individual and institutional dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
• Foster a culture of mutual respect, support and compassion such that everyone feels that they belong.
AMONG OUR AUDIENCES
• Seek out new initiatives that advance a welcoming environment for the Festival.
• Create a framework for ensuring external communications are aligned with the Festival’s commitment to advancing DEIB.
• Increase our investment in audience research to ensure we are meeting our programmatic and audience development goals.