CMW Awarded 2nd National Grant from ArtPlace America

Here at CMW we are celebrating the exciting news that we've been selected from among 1,270 applicants nationwide as one of 55 organizations to receive a major grant from ArtPlace America!

This award will be CMW's second grant from the program, having received one in 2012 from a similarly large field of applicants. With support from ArtPlace America during 2014-15, Community MusicWorks will expand its work by transforming its headquarters into an outward facing public space with deep community ties, as well as developing sustained partnerships with two nonprofit housing developers, S.W.A.P. and Olneyville Housing Corporation, to activate a decentralized network of storefront art spaces in the low-income communities of South Providence, the West End, and Olneyville. This work will include lively musical happenings on the streets and sidewalks, storefronts, restaurants, and other underused community spaces, bringing people together, enlivening public spaces, and strengthening community ties.

"We are honored to be included in this group of compelling projects nationwide. This award will have a catalytic impact on our ability to advance our longstanding work to bring people together through music, to make our communities stronger and more vital," said Community MusicWorks’ Founder and Artistic Director Sebastian Ruth.

CMW will be participating with five other grantees nationwide to build a learning and leadership cohort of partners in the performing arts within the field of creative placemaking. This work is an extension of CMW's longstanding work to share its successful model of neighborhood-based music-making with other musicians and arts organizations across the country, through a two-year fellowship program, conferences, and regular institutes.

“Investing in and supporting the arts have a profound impact on the social, physical, and economic futures of communities,” said ArtPlace Executive Director Jamie L. Bennett. “Projects like these demonstrate how imaginative and committed people are when it comes to enhancing their communities with creative interventions and thoughtful practices.”

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said of the award, "The City of Providence applauds Community MusicWorks for its longstanding commitment to the betterment of our city, engaging young people and their families in imagining a better future through the arts. We are pleased that the national funders represented by Art Place have recognized their meaningful work in our city for a second time."

"Funding the arts is a good investment for our communities and our economy," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, an ex-officio member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body of the National Endowment for the Arts. "Congratulations to Community MusicWorks on winning this important support."

About ArtPlace America

ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) advances the field of creative placemaking, in which art and culture plays an explicit and central role in shaping communities’ social, physical, and economic futures. To date, ArtPlace has awarded $56.8 million through 189 grants to projects serving 122 communities across 42 states and the District of Columbia.

ArtPlace is a collaboration among the Barr Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Surdna Foundation, and two anonymous donors.

ArtPlace seeks advice and counsel from its close working relationships with the following federal agencies: the National Endowment for the Arts, the US Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education, and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council.

ArtPlace has additional partnership from six major financial institutions: Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife and Morgan Stanley.

Daily Orchestra Program Update: End of Year!


Things have been busy at the Daily Orchestra Program! From learning the story of Johann Sebastian Bach’s life (in three action-packed installments, complete with cliffhangers) to performing two concerts, our students have had no shortage of things to do and music to learn! As usual they have been embracing it all with enthusiasm, and as we draw closer and closer to the end of the school year the fruits of their hard work are starting to show themselves in exciting ways.

We spent much of this semester preparing a full program of music, including four short pieces. The first-year Britten Orchestra worked hard to improve their bow holds and instrument posture and showed off their ease of playing their open strings with the boot-tapping favorite “Tuning Hoe Down.” Meanwhile, the second-year Beethoven Orchestra learned some new, more advanced left-hand finger patterns in order to play a pizzicato bass line for the D-jam Blues (our rendition of Duke Ellington’s C-jam Blues). This meant that the Beethovens actually filled in the role Adrienne Taylor played for them last year, while the Brittens took over for the Beethovens. We also added to the program a cute song referencing the Grimm’s Fairy Tale “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” and last but not least the classic theme from the William Tell Overture by Rossini.

We were lucky enough to have two opportunities to perform our repertoire. On the last day before spring break we turned our room at Federal Hill House into an auditorium and presented to families and staff members a full half-hour of music, complete with solo performances! There were feelings of pride and happiness emanating from all corners of the room, and we sent everyone off for spring break feeling victorious!



After spring break we returned to perform the same program again (just like a professional orchestra might do!) at a special event for the Olneyville Housing Corporation. Our students were calm and poised in the face of flashing cameras and chatting event-goers, and their families, anxious not to miss a single moment of the performance, crowded the stage and filled the air with support and cheers after each number.

Now we are in the final stretch to the end of the year, and we are working on some exciting projects. We’re also learning about the life of Ludwig van Beethoven, while we learn to sing and play his famous melody Ode to Joy.

— Lisa Barksdale