Grant funds to support BPO's ‘West Side Connection’ music outreach program
The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support its “West Side Connection” music outreach program. “West Side Connection” is presented to students in the neighborhood of Kleinhans Music Hall and beyond, including three Spanish bilingual schools, a Native American magnet school, and three international schools serving the West Side population of recent and past immigrants from diverse countries. The program provides educational activities, guest artist visits and a culminating concert with the BPO. It is among 1,248 projects across America totaling $28,840,000 that were selected to receive this first round of fiscal year 2022 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects category.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects like this one from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra that help support the community’s creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. “The BPO is among the arts organizations nationwide that are using the arts as a source of strength, a path to well-being, and providing access and opportunity for people to connect and find joy through the arts.”
"We are humbled and honored to be the recipients of such a prestigious award from the NEA," said Daniel Hart, BPO president and executive director. "We are extremely proud of the tremendous work of our education and community outreach team. ‘West Side Connection’ allows us to explore diversity under the umbrella of music, addressing relevant social issues through an exciting and educational medium. We look forward to expanding the reach of our work in this area."
Each year, the BPO's “West Side Connection” program features collaborations with local and national organizations and artists. Past guest artists include the young winners of the Sphinx Competition, a national competition for Black and Latinx string players; the Dance and Drum Company from the African American Cultural Center; dancers from the Latin American Institute, Burmese Community Choir from the International Institute; Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra; composer and violinist Daniel Roumain; conductor Joseph Young; Toronto percussion ensemble TorQ Percussion Quartet; nationally known Project Trio; B-boy Shane Dupree Fry of Verve Dance Studio and Druminar which provides interactive drum experiences in Latin and African traditions.
In addition to the students served directly by the program, for the last six years, the final concert has been shared with many thousands of students across Western New York through the “BPO Broadcast On Demand.”
Additional support for “West Side Connection” is provided by Buffalo Public Schools, Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, the Better Buffalo Fund, and the City of Buffalo.
The NEA advises that there may be a delay in the distribution of some grant awards as the NEA and all of the federal government are operating under a continuing budget resolution which currently expires on Feb. 18.
For more information on other projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
For more information on the BPO, visit bpo.org.