The Lewis Prize for Music has announced Story Stitchers as an Accelerator Award finalist!

The Lewis Prize for Music has announced Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective as a finalist for the $500,000 Accelerator Award for youth music programs. Awardees will be announced in January 2021.

Founded in 2018 by philanthropist Daniel R. Lewis , The Lewis Prize for Music believes young people with access to high-quality music learning, performance and creation opportunities will mature into thriving individuals. Inequitable systems often fail to prioritize music learning in young people’s lives. As a result, too many young people are not supported to express themselves creatively. This stifles young people’s potential to become powerful citizens, who through musical pursuits learn to contribute positively to their communities.

By supporting music leaders across the country to continue their great work, The Lewis Prize for Music hopes to inspire other partners to work together to ensure every young person has the opportunity to access transformative music learning, performance and creation.


2021 Accelerator Awards Finalists

1. Academy of Music Production Education and Development (AMPED) – Louisville, KY.

2. Atlanta Music Project – Atlanta, Georgia

3. Beyond the Bars – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

4. Hyde Square Task Force – Boston, Massachusetts

5. Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit – Detroit, Michigan

6. We Are Culture Creators – Detroit, Michigan

7. Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective – St. Louis, Missouri

8. Women’s Audio Mission – San Francisco, California


In our application, Stitchers proposed the next big step proposed by our youth: opening a large youth arts and technology center! 

The vision of Stitchers Youth Council, currently led by Youth Program Director Emeara Burns, is to create a large welcoming center with large and small learning spaces, workshops, and studios stocked with state-of-the-art technology and equipment to support creativity, learning, collaboration, community meals, performances, rehearsals, and sharing. Performance and practice spaces will feature music, hip-hop dance, spoken word poetry, open mics, DJ-ing, video and film screenings, and youth-led discussions. A recording studio will support the creation of music and podcasts. A green room will support video productions. Like all Story Stitchers’ efforts, the space will be informed by and designed with youth. To build collaborations with other organizations, the space will have a resource center where youth will have access to partner providers’ resources. The center will provide greater access to Story Stitchers programs in vocational training in the arts, civic engagement and community service, safe spaces to create and learn, and the stability and encouragement offered by mentoring adult artists. 

If awarded, The Lewis Prize for Music’s Accelerator Award will provide the means for young people living in areas of St. Louis plagued by poverty and violence to amplify their voices in government offices and at corporate tables, expressing their vision for the youth arts and technology center and the future. The center will empower future generations to learn and love music, building on the legacy of music already rich in St. Louis.