Access Contemporary Music

Intergrating musical creativity into everyday life

CHICAGO, IL   |  https://acmusic.org

Mission

Integrating musical creativity into everyday life through storefront music schools, collaborative events designed to reach new people and commissions that give voice to composers throughout the world. Vision A world in which everyone regardless of social status, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation or placement in the gender spectrum has equal access to high quality contemporary music performances, performers, composers and teachers.

Ruling year info

2005

Founder/ Executive Director

Mr. Seth Boustead

Main address

1758 W WILSON AVE

CHICAGO, IL 60640 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

20-1458881

NTEE code info

Music (A68)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We are working to provide equal access to high quality performances of classical music by diverse living composers as well as equal access to music lessons for anyone who would like to learn to express themselves musically.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

ACM School of Music

A chain of storefront music schools that teach musical creativity, host small concert events and act as community ambassadors for our brand.

Population(s) Served

Newly commissioned scores performed live to modern silent films. We source the films through an international search and generally receive more than a hundred entries each year.

A review panel of professional musicians and filmmakers reviews the selections and narrows it down to eight to twelve films.

We then commission composers to score the films and perform the music live. The program is now in its sixteenth year and regularly sells out. We presented it virtually in 2020 to 2,500 viewers internationally.

Population(s) Served

An award-winning podcast about the most fascinating time in classical music: right now. Hosted by Seth Boustead, Relevant Tones features conversations with and music by some of the most creative figures in contemporary classical music.

Population(s) Served

Chicago's only classical music street festival, the Thirsty Ears Festival features three days of stellar classical music performances, craft beer, food trucks, vendor booths and kid-friendly activities, all on Wilson Ave. in Ravenswood.

The festival is now in its sixth year and regularly attracts 3,000+ people.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adults
Adults
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of performances

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We include our Thirsty Ears Festival in this metric which generally features 20 or more ensembles including our own Palomar Ensemble.

Number of teachers retained after 12 months

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We're especially proud to have retained all of our teaching artists in 2020 and so far in 2021.

Total number of off-site performances held

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020 we had 1 off site performance pre-pandemic and then 3 more that were live streamed from the Davis Theater.

Number of professional artists employed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We're counting primarily the musicians we hire for concerts and live streams and pre recorded content. Composers that we commission are included in the new works section.

Total number of students participating in private lessons

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Enrollment in the school took a dive after March 2020. We're hoping it'll slowly start to recover. But we were thrilled to retain 70% of the school in virtual lessons.

Total number of works commissioned

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Commissions stayed the same in 2020 as we still did our Thirsty Ears and Sound of Silent Film festivals and commissioned composers for Doors Open Milwaukee as well.

Total number of audience members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Audience dramatically increased in 2020 as we presented our Sound of Silent Film Festival virtually and reached just over 2,000. We had similar success with livestreams of our podcast Relevant Tones.

Number of unique podcast audience members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We acquired the award winning podcast Relevant Tones in 2020 and reach so far has been 6,750 through Spotify/Anchor and another 3,000 or so through our own website.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

There are many negative stereotypes about classical music: that it's only music of dead white guys in wigs, that it's expensive and elitist and that if you clap at the wrong time you'll get shushed.

ACM is working to counter these stereotypes and portray classical music as the diverse, thriving field that it is. With composers in nearly every country busily contributing music to the field, the golden time for classical music is now.

ACM wants to make sure everyone who wants to can participate in this golden age.

We have created many programs to provide access to performances, commissions and music education. Our programs include:

The ACM School of Music where we teach musical creativity to more than 300 students in three locations in Chicago. Lessons are affordable and scholarships are available. All of our students learn to compose or improvise and study music theory and ear training so they are learning the language of music. We have ensemble classes, a film scoring class, instrumental and vocal classes and we offer frequent recitals, like every other month.

The Sound of Silent Film Festival is a great way for people to discover contemporary music for the first time. The show features music we commission for modern silent films sourced through an international search and then we perform the music live to the films. It's been a very popular program.

Another great way for us to provide access and to show classical music as diverse and fun is the Thirsty Ears Festival, Chicago's only classical music street festival. For three days in August we close Wilson Ave. in Chicago for stellar classical music performances, food trucks, craft beer, kid-friendly activities and neighborhood and arts-related vendors. The fest regularly attracts 4,000 people.

Our Live at the Davis Theater concerts range from music by some of today's biggest name composers to composers who are just starting with everything in between. The concerts also regularly feature new music that we commissioned.

We have recently launched a YouTube series called Songs About Buildings and Moods that features music we commission inspired by architecture and cultural spaces.

We regularly host small performances in our storefront music schools.

We have created two films about music that were shown on PBS and our musicians perform regularly on the radio and on live stream concerts.

We collaborate regularly with other organizations like Open House New York, Doors Open Milwaukee, chambers of commerce, community councils, etc to cross promote cultural events and ensure that we're reaching new people.

ACM's administrative structure consists of an Executive Director who oversees one full-time staff member in our Operations Director for the ACM School of Music and three part-time staff including the Music Director for the Davis concert series, the Personnel Director for the school who oversees sixteen teachers and the front desk staff and the Development Director. The Music Director hires and oversees our ensemble members for the concerts, up to fifteen people each year.

We also have several admin volunteers a year and dozens of volunteers for the concerts and Thirsty Ears festival, and we usually have an intern too. Our board of directors consists of eight people and the Executive Director reports to them. Financially we receive 70% of our income through earned revenue from the ACM School of Music and 30% contributed revenue from grants and donations.

We also formed a planning committee for the Thirsty Ears Festival and found another board member there. Now we're back to seven people, they're all engaged and are energizing the older members and we're moving to becoming a real fundraising board for the first time which is great.


Together our facilities include approximately 4,000 square feet of space and an office with approximately 600 square feet. The Rogers Park storefront location is 900 square feet and is where our ensemble rehearses. We have a beautiful 2006 Young Chang baby grand piano and plenty of space to rehearse even large ensembles.

We have:

Created a chain of music schools in Chicago with three locations, 310 students, 24 teachers and incalculable good will

Created the Sound of Silent Film Festival

Created the Thirsty Ears Festival now attracting 4,000+ people per year

Worked with Open House New York to commission music inspired by the Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Terminal at JFK and presented the music in collaboration with dancers from the New York City Ballet

Worked with Open House Chicago every year since its inception to commission composers to write music inspired by landmark buildings in Chicago and to put musicians in the buildings to perform the music as part of self-guided tours.

Produced more than 100 concerts of the music of living composers in Chicago, Barcelona, Mexico City, New York, Paris and Toronto.

Next up is a new YouTube series called Songs About Buildings and Moods featuring music and architecture, the next logical step after years of working with Open House projects around the country. We've also acquired the award-winning podcast Relevant Tones.

We recently remodeled our flagship music school location in Chicago so we can have our own small performance space, recording studio and live stream studio thus giving us the power to create content in house.

We will be collaborating with Chicago Fringe Opera in 2021 to give the World Premiere of La Jetée, an opera inspired by the classic Chris Marker film of the same name.

We will celebrate the launch of Songs About Buildings and Moods in Chicago with a public event at the Chicago Cultural Center and in New York with a public event at Roulette in Brooklyn.

Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Access Contemporary Music

Board of directors
as of 1/31/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Tony Scott-Green

Kim Schlechter

Brandon Harrington

Jessica Richardson

Marilyn Caton

George Thiruvathukal

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/17/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/17/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.