(PATERSON, NJ) -- National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $84 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2020. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $15,000 to the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts for the Paterson Music Project’s Saturday Community Music Program. This is one of 1,015 grants nationwide that the agency has approved in this category.
“These awards demonstrate the resilience of the arts in America, showcasing not only the creativity of their arts projects but the organizations’ agility in the face of a national health crisis,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “We celebrate organizations like the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts for providing opportunities for learning and engagement through the arts in these times.”
“We are so grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for this continued support,” said Robert Hamburger, President of the Board of Directors of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. “This grant will help us to continue our commitment toward the Paterson Community and further establish our mission and vision of our Paterson Music Project.”
The Paterson Music Project (PMP) is an El Sistema-inspired after-school program that uses classical music as a vehicle for social change. PMP serves over 200 students in grades 2-10 from ten Paterson Public Schools. Building on this successful program, the free Saturday Program welcomes young musicians from across Paterson to further hone their skills and participate in a city-wide concert orchestra and concert band during the school year. Students will perform frequently in the community and beyond. This grant will provide advanced PMP students with free private lessons to prepare for entering regional youth orchestras and scholarships. Students will also be leaders in the program and mentor younger students. PMP will also provide professional development sessions focusing on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) for its staff and teaching artists.
If New Jersey schools are unable to open in September 2020 in response to the COVID 19 pandemic, PMP is prepared to continue its virtual model. After Paterson schools closed on March 16, 2020, PMP acted quickly to launch its first virtual music classes on March 23, 2020. In the first week, PMP offered more than 70 sessions, providing over 2,800 of hours of interactive learning available to all students and their families.
For more information on this National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.
Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,500 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve 500 students in grades 3 – 12 by audition. Beginning with Out of the Box Music and Pathways classes for young children, Wharton offers private lessons, group classes, and ensembles for all ages and all abilities at the Performing Arts School. With the belief in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay, Wharton teaches all instruments and voice and has a robust musical theater program. Based in Paterson, New Jersey, the Paterson Music Project is an El Sistema-inspired program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 10 counties. All of Wharton’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.