The Lewis Prize for Music – a philanthropic music arts organization advancing systems change through creative youth development – has announced its 2021 awards. Over $2 million in funding will give young people access to music education, strengthen the well-being of their communities and put music at the center of efforts to establish equity.
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 seeks to inspire others to ensure every young person has the opportunity to access transformative music learning, performance and creation that benefits them and their communities.
“I am inspired by these leaders and organizations for all they do to put music at the center of young people’s personal development,” says Daniel R. Lewis, Founder and Chairman of The Lewis Prize for Music. “Our awardees and the entire Creative Youth Development field have expanded their efforts amidst the challenges of 2020 to meet the creative, material, and well being needs of young people and families. To recognize this unique impact and dedication, we have chosen to expand to four Accelerator Awards.”
“We are deeply grateful to the dozens of music, creative youth development and social change experts who reviewed applications and recommended awardees,” says Dalouge Smith, CEO of The Lewis Prize for Music. “In particular, we appreciate the ten young adults who contributed invaluable insights from their own journeys as maturing musicians and artists to the awards selection.”
Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective is one of four Accelerator Awardees – $500,000 each Accelerator Awards provide multi-year support to enable leaders and organizations to make sustained progress toward ambitious community change initiatives that align with The Lewis Prize for Music’s values and vision.
Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective is composed of professional artists and minority youth ages 16-24, working together to create social change with a focus on gun violence prevention. Stitchers collect stories, reframe and retell them through art, writing and performance to promote understanding, civic pride, intergenerational relationships and literacy. Projects create a platform for community engagement through an artistic lens and with it the Saint Louis Story Stitchers work to shift perceptions and realities and bring hope to the Saint Louis community.
Saint Louis Story Stitchers and its partners provide young people with platforms for turning their creative efforts into personal strengths and community transformations. Whether performing at neighborhood festivals, participating in mural and creative placemaking initiatives or podcasting from its Stitchcast Studio, the young artists of Saint Louis Story Stitchers translate the complexities of what they experience into accessible and affirming narratives.
Susan Colangelo and Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective will use The Lewis Prize for Music to build toward the establishment of a youth music and technology center by growing its administrative and fundraising capacity.