NEA Awards $12,000 to Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra

More Than $82 Million Awarded for Arts Projects Nationwide

Includes $12,000 Awarded to Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra


Milwaukee, Wisconsin – National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $12,000 to Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) to support its Progressions program in the 2017 – 18 season.  The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.


“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu.  “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”


“This grant from the NEA supports MYSO’s innovative and immersive Progressions string training program for third and fourth grade City of Milwaukee students who face challenges to access and equity in music education,” says Linda Edelstein, MYSO’s Executive Director.  “These students not only get valuable music training, but also develop emotional and social skills such as confidence, perseverance, and a collaborative spirit.  We help make our community a better place by cultivating these outstanding young citizens.”


Progressions was launched in 2003.  Since then, it has provided orchestra training, and group and private lessons for violin, viola, cello and bass to nearly 500 students.  The participants in this program are school-nominated third and fourth graders from Milwaukee Public Schools and/or the City of Milwaukee.  Thanks to generous community-wide support for the program, participating families pay only a nominal fee to participate.


Progressions has received national support and recognition.  MYSO was named a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award winner in 2015 for its work through its Community Partnership Programs which includes Progressions. This is the nation’s highest award for out-of-school arts and humanities programs.  It is a signature effort of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities™-and is funded in partnership with the NEA, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services™.  MYSO is the only youth orchestra in the nation to have received this award.


To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring17.  For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to


About Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra

Since 1956, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) continues to nurture, challenge, and inspire generations of students through music, profoundly changing lives and our community for the better.  MYSO has grown from one orchestra and 30 students to become, by several measures, the largest and one of the most respected youth orchestra programs in the nation.  We serve 6,000 students during the academic school year who come from more than 200 schools in over 14 counties throughout southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.  In addition to classical music, MYSO’s repertoire includes jazz, steel pan and percussion ensembles.


# # #


Contact:  Linda Edelstein, Executive Director

Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra

Phone:  414.267.2990

Sign Up for Arts Beat

Get involved with local arts news. Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and you'll always have local performing arts information at your fingertips.