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The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

Creating an Anti-Racist World

08-04-2020

As I write this, the rapid increase in global coronavirus cases telegraphs the continuation of online learning in the fall for most schools around the United States. The video of George Floyd’s murder on May 25, reminiscent of the visual horror of Emmett Till’s murder in August of 1955, has ignited peaceful protests around the world that have contributed to changes in American society we were sure we’d never see: the renaming of the NFL’s Washington Football Team, the removal of the Confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag, the banning of the Confederate flag by NASCAR and the Pentagon. All segments of society, including the arts and arts education, have been called to reflect on the reality of white supremacy, systemic racism, and our individual and collective bigotry that resists empathizing with or listening to the truth of anyone but ourselves.

Tool Kit for Rethinking Funding Strategies

07-07-2020

If your program is rethinking its fundraising strategies in this new economic landscape, you may want to consult the experts: The Chronicle of Philanthropy (the major publication for the field) recently published a Tool Kit for fundraising during the pandemic.

“Beyond the Board Statement,” an Article from Nonprofit Quarterly

07-07-2020

Many music for social change organizations want to respond to racial justice demands in every way they can, and engaging their Boards is a common strategy. A good, free, two-part webinar series from Nonprofit Quarterly shares effective ways to involve your Board: “Beyond the Board Statement: How Can Boards Join the Movement for Racial Justice?” See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Cultural Equity Learning Center

07-07-2020

The Cultural Equity Learning Community (CELC) is open to arts leaders committed to building racial equity and justice in the arts. Geared toward white-identifying arts leaders and/or those working in predominately white institutions, the two-unit online course offers a go-at-your-own pace learning path with complementary wraparound learning supports. The course seeks to reduce harm toward BIPOC leaders in the arts and culture sector, increase skill sets and accountability of white arts sector leaders, examine what it means to build anti-racist co-conspiratorship, and more.

National Youth Network Meeting

07-07-2020

The National Guild for Community Arts Education has created a National Youth Network (NYN) Meeting as part of the Creative Youth Development (CYD) movement. Youth practitioners, teaching artists, and culture workers age 13–24 are encouraged to attend this weekly virtual gathering and connect, share, and express themselves creatively. Meetings take place every Friday from 7–8:30 p.m. EDT; for more information, please contact Paula Ortega (youth leader) or Ashley Hare (adult accomplice).

MYCincinnati Publishes Open Letter

07-07-2020

In an open letter to its community, Price Hill Will/MYCincinnati recognizes that “everything about an organization’s practices, beliefs, culture, structure, and programs either contributes to racial equity or opposes it.” They present a detailed overview of their equity statements, programs and initiatives, hiring and compensation practices, trainings, fundraising, and more, inviting feedback. Also, their annual Price Hill Creative Community Festival (July 20–25) has announced the festival’s transition to online along with the three Artists-in-Residence. Learn more here.

The Lewis Prize Recipients of COVID-19 Community Response Funds Announced

07-07-2020

The Lewis Prize for Music announced the recipients of its $1.25 million COVID-19 Community Response Fund, awarded to 32 Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations across the U.S. (including three El Sistema organizations) that have adapted and responded to serve the needs of young people and their families during the pandemic. One-third of recipients have budgets of less than $100,000 per year; two-thirds are led by people of color. Read an article about the Fund in the July World Ensemble.

YOLA National at Home, 2020

07-07-2020

YOLA National at Home, this year’s online version of the annual YOLA National Festival and Symposium, offers keynotes (Thomas Wilkins and Gustavo Dudamel), community and artist conversations, teaching tools, and project-based learning opportunities for youth and adults. Students, educators, and artists are invited into these interactive experiences, held 3–4 times per week over Zoom and YouTube Live from July 10–31. Register for updates here. YOLA is also partnering with Project 440 to provide musicians of the YOLA National Festival Orchestras with a six-week virtual program on using art as a vehicle for positive change and how to prepare for college or conservatory.

An Open Letter to My Students

07-07-2020

As an educator, I am a role model for young people. In the wake of the social unrest following the death of George Floyd, my students made it clear: not only did they want me to amplify their voices, but they implored me to amplify my own as well. Below is an abridged version of an open letter I wrote them immediately following our discussion. The complete letter can be found at project440.org.

Creating the COVID-19 Community Response Fund

07-01-2020

The Lewis Prize for Music, a philanthropic foundation established in the United States in 2018, is guided by the mission of partnering with leaders who create positive change by investing in young people through music. We were only two months past announcing our inaugural awards when the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders took effect. At the time, we were finalizing our internal evaluation and identifying lessons learned. We were excited to nearly double the time frame of our process by opening the 2021 Accelerator Award letter of interest in late spring.

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