Toward a better future

March 16, 2021

On July 1, 2020, we committed to standing in solidarity with the peaceful protests and voices of Black leadership around the country.  As we approach the end of our 2020-2021 season we want to provide an update on our ongoing anti-oppression work to honor diversity, and to make sure we are inclusive and equitable as we carry out our mission. 

Staff & Board of Directors: 

  • Reading Groups: In Fall 2020 the entire ACG staff completed ‘How to be an Anti-Racist’ by Ibram X. Kendi. We used this book as a catalyst to create an actionable Anti-Oppression plan.
  • Anti-Oppression Task Force: We have adopted a staff-led task force that meets once a week. They plan, prioritize and execute actionable steps toward a more equitable and inclusive organization. 
  • Consulting: We engaged the consultant Calida Jones, a leader in community-centered music education, to help us build a better and more culturally sensitive understanding of how to engage with our community and students. She also worked with the Anti-Oppression task force to strengthen our action plan.
  • Board of Directors: The Board has created a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee that is working on creating a Board that is more representative of our community. They have committed to regular Anti-Oppression training and have initiated a Board Matching Program and training with The New Philanthropists.   
  • Space: We are in the process of moving our office to an accessible space, located more centrally within Austin, TX, with public transportation options nearby. This will allow students and community members to more easily access our office for rehearsals and other ACG activities. 

Artistic & Education: 

  • Music Resources: The education team is in the process of arranging and commissioning new works by BIPOC, Women, LGBTQIA+, and other underrepresented composers to incorporate into our curriculum and Teacher Summit. This season, ACG has commissioned 4 works by underrepresented composers for our Youth & Community ensembles.
  • Teacher Hiring: The education team is examining our current hiring practices and is building a policy to attract more diversity in our teaching staff. We hope to have more teachers that are reflective of our community in classrooms. 
  • UIL Solos: We have compiled and presented a new solo repertoire list to the University Interscholastic League, the governing body for music competition and assessment events for primary and secondary schools in Texas, in hopes of pushing the wider world of classroom classical guitar to adopt a diverse repertoire. The new list includes works by a wider variety of BIPOC composers.
  • Representation on Stage: Our Artistic Director is committed to continuing to seek out and engage performing artists from historically underrepresented groups. He is supporting local and international artists in the process of expanding their repertoire of BIPOC, Women, and  LGBTQIA+ composers and engaging artists who have already made this a priority.  Our artistic director is in the process of developing multiple major commissions of underrepresented composers in the upcoming seasons. 


  • Donor Recognition: ACG has adopted a longevity-based donor recognition model, as opposed to an amount-based donor recognition model. In doing so, we hope to highlight the ACG’s family’s commitment to ACG regardless of socioeconomic status.
  • Volunteer Recognition: ACG is fortunate to have numerous volunteers.  We are developing new ways to recognize these volunteers’ time and talent. 
  • Employee Handbook: We are in the process of updating our Employee Handbook to ensure our staff policies are fair to all who work within the organization. 
  • Pay Scale: We are currently examining our pay scale for contractors and interns to ensure it is fair and equitable to all employees. We are in the process of adopting a more progressive pay structure. 
  • General Hiring: ACG is examining our current hiring practices and is building a policy to attract more diversity in our organization. We have completed our internship policy.
  • Vendors: Our Director of Operations has compiled a list of local and minority-owned businesses. We are developing ways to increase support to these vendors in the coming years. 


  • Media Ethics:  ACG adopted a Media Ethics policy to guide our daily and weekly communications. It is now available on the website.

This work is ongoing, and the above is just the start. ACG is committed to long-term change and will continually work to carry out our mission in a way that is Anti-Oppressive, that honors diversity, and is equitable and inclusive.

July 1, 2020

In solidarity with the peaceful protests and voices of Black leadership around the country and the world, we are examining who we are, what we do, and how we do it so that we can develop a plan toward a better future.

We’ve seen that music can be transformative. We believe that music holds a powerful role in making our communities just and equitable. And we know that music can bring people together to create a better world.

Our mission is: To inspire individuals in the communities we serve through musical experiences of deep personal significance.

Using our mission as the north star to which we aspire, we have begun evaluating our work and ourselves from a new perspective. Through this process of reflection and learning, we have developed commitments to ourselves and our community to guide our work going forward. We are implementing some of these measures immediately, but others are long-term initiatives that will require more time and thought.

We share these reflections and intentions with you so that we may hold each other accountable as we create a better future together.

Who are the communities we serve? Who feels welcome in our community?

We intend …

  • To broaden the scope of what we consider our community.
  • To build a staff and Board of Directors truly representative of our community at every level, specifically seeking out underrepresented groups such as BIPOC, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ communities. 
  • To seek out service partners in underrepresented communities locally, regionally, and nationally.

How do we employ our mission and resources to promote equity, acknowledge racism and oppression, and create just, inclusive spaces? How do we employ our mission to make space for community members’ voices?

We intend …

  • To amplify marginalized voices by expanding the boundaries of our artistic experiences to better reflect our community.
  • To examine our funding sources and practices, and work to diversify our donors and institutional partners.

How can we revise existing resources and services to better serve the entire Austin community and beyond?

We intend …

  • To provide our teachers with tools to connect and engage with students of all identities.
  • To hire diverse, service-minded teachers and artists for education programming representative of the students we serve and hope to serve. 
  • To reimagine our curriculum and other education resources to ensure the individuals we serve have access to a wide variety of materials and experiences that represent the cultural spectrum of our community.
  • To identify, understand, and eliminate barriers to participation that may be inadvertently present in our artistic, education, and social service programs.

Do we currently create a culture that feels safe and welcoming for all identities to be seen as whole individuals with worth and dignity? How can we foster an environment that empowers individuals to participate meaningfully?

We intend … 

  • To empower our staff by providing opportunities for professional development and pathways to leadership.
  • To nurture a culture of understanding and connection within our staff and Board of Directors through learning experiences on anti-racism, anti-sexism, and anti-oppression.
  • To foster an environment welcoming to all identities so that individuals feel seen, valued, and inspired to flourish.

We look forward to sharing more stories and beautiful moments with you as we strive to fulfill our mission to inspire individuals in the communities we serve through musical experiences of deep personal significance.