The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.
News & Resources
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).
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 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, 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.
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.
Monique Van Willingh, Director, Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program, Longy School of Music, Los Angeles, CA
I had my first U.S. protest experience in Los Angeles, CA, after the murder of Michael Brown, Jr. I could hear but not see the protesters behind rows of policemen in riot gear. As circling helicopters kept me awake that night, I realized that I felt safer in my home country of South Africa, although I had directly experienced racism, gender-based violence, and crime there.
Arts Connect International held its Arts Equity Summit 2020 virtually, during three days in late April. Its mission: serving arts and culture leaders who are committed to collectively building equity, access, and inclusion. Over a thousand people attended the Summit in some way, and now ACI has posted recordings of all the sessions. Here is an overview of the Summit, and here are recordings of keynotes, sessions, and performances. Click here to find out more about ACI.
Go exploring inside Smithsonian Open Access, where you can download, share, use, and reuse millions of the Smithsonian’s images—right now, for free, without asking. For the first time in its 174-year history, the Smithsonian has created platforms and tools to provide easy access to nearly 3 million high resolution 2-D and 3-D digital items from their 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo. This huge data dump is just the beginning; throughout the rest of 2020, the Smithsonian will roll out another 200,000 images, with more to come as the Institution continues to digitize its collection of 155 million items and counting. The Smithsonian collection includes hundreds of items pertaining to music.
Could your Sistema program partner with older people? Lifetime Arts (the nation’s leading organization in training educators to work with aging populations) offers Creative Aging 101, a training mini-course that details how best to engage older adults (55+) in “participatory, professionally run arts programs with a focus on social engagement and skills mastery.” Like many of their resources, the mini-course is free during the pandemic; learn more here.
As young people age and move further away from their primary relationships (parents, teachers, schoolmates), they feel less optimistic about their personal futures. Art becomes a point of contact, an urgent communication, and a hope, according to this article with a multinational view in The Conversation: “After Coronavirus: Global youth reveal that the social value of art has never mattered more.”