Milwaukee, WI – National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects and partnerships in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2016. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $12,000 to Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) for its Progressions program. The Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields.

“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Supporting projects like the one from Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

“The National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) support of Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, through the NEA’s Art Works grant program, provides valuable music training, cognitive and musical skill development to youth from the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Public Schools who face barriers to music education,” says Linda Edelstein, MYSO’s Executive Director. “This grant, directly supporting MYSO’s innovative string training program for urban youth in the third and fourth grades, enables MYSO to change the lives of these young musicians, as they gain critical life skills through music study.”

Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Progressions program is a high-impact, intensive string training program for early elementary students. Launched in 2003, the program was founded with the goal of increasing the participation of students with barriers to music education. Twelve years later, the program has grown to 70 students and provides group lessons, orchestra training and intensive private lessons for violin, viola, cello and bass. The participants in the program are school-nominated third and fourth grade students from the City of Milwaukee and/or Milwaukee Public Schools. Thanks to generous community-wide support for the program, participating families pay only a nominal fee for their participation. Progressions has received national support and recognition. MYSO was named a National Arts and Humanities Youth Arts Program Award Winner for its work through the Community Partnership Programs which includes Progressions . This program has also received previous National Endowment for the Arts and League of American Orchestras funding, as well as the 2014 Eureka Award from the Milwaukee Business Journal .

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring16. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to

At Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO), we empower young people from diverse backgrounds to joyfully pursue musical excellence while building crucial life skills. Instrumental in changing lives since 1956, MYSO’s programs foster critical thinking skills, creativity and collaboration through more than 40 ensemble and enrichment program options, ranging from symphony, string orchestras, jazz and steel pan bands, to music theory, composition, and international tours, all providing high quality musical experiences to students at various skill levels. With 1,000 young musicians ages 8-18 from as many as 215 schools, 60 communities and 14 counties throughout southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois participating in its many music programs, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra has become one of the largest organizations of its kind in the United States.

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