Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

West Michigan Symphony is committed to building an organization that fosters diversity, equity and inclusion. We acknowledge and celebrate the 19th century European cultural heritage from which the symphony orchestra arises. At the same time, we believe the art form is renewed and enlivened by embracing multifarious cultures and influences, as it has done throughout its history. We will continually explore ways to reflect plurality, inclusivity and curiosity in our artistic programming.

We particularly recognize that Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPoC) and other under-represented groups have often experienced the Symphony as a foreign and unwelcoming environment. We commit to inviting them into an ongoing, active dialogue so that we can learn, grow, and change, making the Symphony a place where everyone feels invited and accepted.

We will strive to reflect these values throughout our organization. In our Board, staff and volunteer base, we will work for greater inclusivity in ethnicity and cultural background, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, disabilities, education, geography, and religion—thereby reflecting the rich diversity of the West Michigan community.



  • Music and the arts increase belonging and connection
  • DEI work is essential to achieving our vision of a music-infused West Michigan
  • We have historically been a majority-white organization and art form, and we are committed to becoming more inclusive
  • Through DEI work we will bring new repertoire, new voices, and new relationships to the table

GOAL I: Become a community leader in advancing equity and inclusion through advocacy, dialogue and partnerships

  • Increase engagement with and attendance by underrepresented audiences and neighborhoods. Develop and deepen relationships with organizations led by and/or reaching underrepresented people. Form long-term partnerships especially with Black-led community organizations to co-create new initiatives.

GOAL II: Become a safe and welcoming organization that encompasses a plurality of voices and backgrounds, reflecting our diverse community

  • Increase participation and belonging of underrepresented people within board, staff and orchestra. Invite, engage and include diverse community voices in reshaping the organization. Support and participate in national initiatives that foster increased opportunities for musicians of color. Update recruitment, hiring and workplace policies and practices to maximize inclusivity and flexibility.

GOAL III: Offer an inclusive musical repertoire for a broad audience

  • Regularly feature BIPoC composers and artists throughout programming. Engage community to gather input regarding inclusive programs. Research and, where appropriate, tap into national initiatives elevating music by diverse composers, artists and crossover groups and projects.

GOAL IV: Increase access to instrumental and choral music and education, especially for underrepresented youth

  • Provide new and existing education programs and look for ways to remove barriers (cost, transportation, etc.) for underrepresented youth. Gather input and engage with educators and school leaders. Explore residencies, music camps to further inclusive commitments of our artistic mission with youth.

GOAL V: Make DEI an organizational value through ongoing learning, growing, questioning and applying

  • Conduct regular internal learning and application sessions, increase understanding of historical oppression nationally and regionally and how it impacts our community today, with special emphasis on its effect on access to music.

Adopted by WMS Board of Directors in June 2021

Michigan Arts & Culture Council
National Endowment for the Arts