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El Sistema USA To Receive $20,000 Grant From the National Endowment for the Arts

2024 National Symposium and Youth Ambassador Program at Butler University

El Sistema USA® has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support ESUSA’s 2024 National Symposium and Youth Ambassador Program at Butler University. This is a multi-day professional development gathering that will support ESUSA member programs and cultivate the next generation of arts education leaders. El Sistema USA’s project is among 1,130 projects across the country, totaling more than $31 million, that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2023 funding.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to support a wide range of projects, including El Sistema USA, demonstrating the many ways the arts enrich our lives and contribute to healthy and thriving communities,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “These organizations play an important role in advancing the creative vitality of our nation and helping to ensure that all people can benefit from arts, culture, and design.”

“We are thrilled to gather the equity based music education community for professional development as well as continue our Youth Ambassador Program. This comes at an important time, as our member programs continue to grow and graduate more students each year. We have the opportunity to develop youth leadership and create pathways into the field and beyond for our students. We are grateful to the Indianapolis Center for Arts Education and Innovation at Butler University for their partnership and shared vision around diversifying the field, developing community leadership, and preparing the next generation of leaders for social impact through music,” said ESUSA Executive Director Elizabeth Moulthrop.

“We are honored to once again collaborate with El Sistema USA, a national leader in social action through music,” said Lauren Shelton,  Executive Director at the Indianapolis Center for Arts Education and Innovation. “Butler University and the Center firmly believe in the power of music to drive social change and inspire youth to become future leaders. Through this renewed collaboration with El Sistema USA, we reaffirm our dedication to shaping a future where the transformative influence of music is accessible to all, enabling leaders to create a more vibrant and equitable world.”

El Sistema USA’s 2024 National Symposium is a multi-day conference which will provide professional development, resource sharing, networking, and youth leadership opportunities for ESUSA members as well as individuals and partner organizations working in the field of music for social change and creative youth development. The symposium is scheduled for Summer 2024, at Butler University. The conference will be hosted in partnership with local arts organizations to highlight community partnerships, collective impact, and youth voice. ESUSA will prioritize youth leadership through the Youth Ambassador Program, where students and alumni will be paid to plan and execute content for both adults and students at the symposium.

2023 Symposium Recap Youth Ambassador Cohort
2023 Symposium Recap Gateways Brass Collective

Photos from the 2023 National Symposium and Youth Ambassador Program at Butler University

El Sistema USA (ESUSA)’s mission is to support a nationwide movement of programs inspired by El Sistema to effect social change through music for children. The vision for ESUSA is to be a national voice for the intersection of equity and excellence in music education with a focus on student voice. ESUSA’s membership currently includes 140 organizations that serve a majority of students and families who live at or below the federal poverty level. ESUSA member programs commit to developing young musicians and active citizens. Our organizations represent 25,000 students in 35 states and territories, taught by over 6,000 music teachers.

The mission of the Indianapolis Center for Arts Education and Innovation (ICAEI) at Butler University is to advance equitable access to the transformative power of arts education for learners of all ages and their communities by connecting schools, artists, and organizations throughout greater Indianapolis. ICAEI will provide in kind space, event technology support, catering for participants, and will connect ESUSA with their local arts and social services partners.

For more information on other projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit

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