Shared Voices: Building an Inclusive Space for Our Diverse Community


Constructed Cubism for Jazz Fest 2014, by Brian Whitfield

Over the last several years, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing has been devoted to improving our efforts regarding diversity and inclusion. As a result of our board’s strategic planning, in 2018 we established a Diversity and Inclusion committee. At the recommendation of the committee, the Arts Council intentionally sat down with area individuals and cultural groups who were not yet benefiting from our services to inquire about their needs and to ensure we were providing equitable programming and support. Their valuable input, has helped the Arts Council continue to grow and look inward at how we can do better and make decisions that are not only inclusive in process, but are equitable to our community members.

It is our overall mission to “support, strengthen and promote arts, culture and creativity in the Capital Region,” and we are committed to building a safe, inclusive and supportive space for all. We have such a beautifully diverse community, and it is important to the Arts Council that we put every effort toward cultivating opportunities which will “maximize the natural and dynamic relationship among arts, culture, diversity, equity and inclusion.”

The Arts Council recognizes the wealth of culture in our community, and as a community organization, we deeply value and uphold our community member’s rights to tell their story and share their history. Our neighborhoods, our museums, our galleries, our streets, our places of worship and our schools would be lifeless without the paintings, music, sculptures, literature and other important works that document the rich history and lives of our region.

As we see our nation and our region in pain over the senseless death of George Floyd, we know now, more than ever, how important it is that we all stand up for equality and anti-racism. Through its work, the Arts Council strives to empower the marginalized so their talents can become part of a new dialog for change. It is our belief that communities and lives can be transformed through the power of creative expression.

The time for transformation is now.

The arts are playing a key role in telling the stories of pain and hope coming out of Black communities here and around the world. It’s being expressed on the streets, and in social media, through a flood of empowering and impactful images.  We encourage you to share these images and your own. We have all experienced the power of the arts to make change; now is the time to utilize it to amplify the voices of all those who are hurting and fighting for justice.

The Arts Council knows we have more to do, and we will continue to learn and model the importance of inclusion and shared voices in the arts.

For more information about the Arts Council’s committees, go to