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El Sistema USA® (ESUSA) is pleased to announce it has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for a Grants for Arts Projects award of $35,000. This grant will support the El Sistema USA 2025 Regional Pathways Symposium Series and Youth Ambassador Cohort, through professional development that will support member programs and cultivate the next generation of leaders. In total, the NEA will award 1,135 Grants for Arts Projects awards totaling more than $37 million as part of its second round of fiscal year 2024 grants.

“Projects like ESUSA’s series of regional music symposia and youth leadership development exemplify the creativity and care with which communities are telling their stories, creating connection, and responding to challenges and opportunities in their communities—all through the arts,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “So many aspects of our communities such as cultural vitality, health and wellbeing, infrastructure, and the economy are advanced and improved through investments in art and design, and the National Endowment for the Arts is committed to ensuring people across the country benefit.”

ESUSA’s 2025 Regional Pathways Symposium Series will provide a platform for ESUSA members and the larger field of music for social impact programs to convene for professional development and networking on a local and regional level. The series will provide training and education on a scaffolded approach to youth leadership as well as model best practices in order to develop the next generation of leaders on a local level. Youth voice will be embedded into the conference through the Youth Ambassador Cohort. With the NEA’s funding, ESUSA will provide two events in the El Sistema USA 2025 Regional Pathways Symposium Series. This will include regional events with Indianapolis Center for Arts Education and Innovation at Butler University and Tuned In at The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in the 2024-2025 season.

“We are thrilled to be able to host two regional events with NEA support to provide professional development to teachers and administrators working to advance equity in music education. The events will center youth voice and leadership. This work is critical as our educators prepare the next generation of students to step into the field and shape the future of these programs. Youth voice and leadership are crucial to cultivating and uplifting community voice and equity within music education.” Elizabeth Moulthrop, Executive Director of El Sistema USA.

ESUSA works to ensure every child has access to high-quality music education that celebrates their voice and potential, by supporting a national network of organizations & educators. ESUSA is committed to equity and excellence in music education. The organization envisions a world in which every child—regardless of income, geography, or identity—has access to a high-quality music education program that builds community, opportunity, and personal growth.

ESUSA strengthens the field of music education by providing leadership and resources to organizations and educators. ESUSA serves 140 member programs, 6,000 teaching artists, and 25,000 students. ESUSA’s programming supports members and the wider field through staff professional development, data and advocacy, and student learning and leadership. ESUSA is a central resource for music teaching artists, organizations, researchers, educators, policymakers and funders to help students from all backgrounds thrive in music education.

For more information on other projects included in the NEA’s grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

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