LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 23, 2018) — National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018.
Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $10,000 to Lexington’s Central Music Academy for its Northside Initiative, a Direct Learning project which provides private music lessons, group steel band classes, and a bluegrass ensemble for financially disadvantaged youth from the northside of Lexington.
“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to the Central Music Academy, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities and connections the arts bring.”
According to Erin Walker Bliss, CMA’s executive director, this funding will allow 30 low-income eight-to-18-year-old students from north Lexington to receive free quality musical training from professional teaching artists at CMA.
The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that meet the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts. The Central Music Academy has received two Art Works grants, which, along with other funding, have allowed CMA to help more than 950 youth become their best selves through consistent mentoring and dedicated instruction from highly qualified teachers. CMA students witness a growth in their confidence and abilities in music, in schoolwork, and in their daily lives. One hundred percent of CMA students have graduated from high school and 98 percent have gone on to college.
Currently, CMA is in the midst of a challenge grant. Through June 30, a private foundation is matching donations dollar-for-dollar, up to $30,000, for any new donors (http://centralmusicacademy.org/giving). CMA’s scholarships are funded entirely from grants and private donations, and there are currently 60+ students on the organization’s waiting list. Students who qualify for a scholarship can take individual lessons throughout the year in cello, guitar, violin and other strings; flute and other woodwinds; horn, trumpet and other brass; and voice, piano, and percussion.
For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.