Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Gets Grant to Help Improve Diversity

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Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in Little Rock has been awarded an $18,760 grant from The League of American Orchestras.

The grant aims to strengthen the understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion and to help change organizational culture. 

In all, 28 orchestras from across the country received one-year grants from the league’s $2.1 million Catalyst Fund, a grant-making program funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation. 

“Recent events have underscored the deep racial disparities existing in our country, already amplified by the pandemic’s unequal impact of communities of color,” Jesse Rosen, the president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, said in a news release. “The work orchestras are undertaking with support from the League’s Catalyst Fund highlights the urgency of addressing equity, diversity and inclusion as orchestras attempt to confront inequity within our field.”

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra CEO Christinia Littlejohn said she was “excited and thankful” for the grant. She said the orchestra is ready to “move forward and make real progress toward equity, diversity and inclusion by working with experienced consultants.”

“Arkansas Symphony Orchestra wants systemic, sustainable change that leads us to fulfil our mission to truly serve all Arkansans through music,” she said. 

Catalyst Fund grants support the orchestra’s use of equity, diversity and inclusion consultants to implement a range of organizational development activities involving musicians, staff, board and in rare occasions volunteers and community leaders. Those activities include anti-bias training, institutional audits, the creation of formal EDI plans and other initiatives.