News & Events

Notices for partners, news for artists, announcements from the field, job postings. Submit news items using our online form.

E-Newsletter / August 2013

Posted: Friday, August 23rd, 2013 at 12:33 pm in E-Newsletters

E-Newsletter / July 2013

Posted: Monday, July 29th, 2013 at 11:41 am in E-Newsletters

E-Newsletter / June 2013

Posted: Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 at 11:21 am in E-Newsletters

New Orleans Hosts One of 40 El Sistema Projects in the U.S.

Posted: Monday, June 24th, 2013 at 6:55 pm in News

YOL9W_Fall2012-002-boy-withDedication, commitment, passion, hard work, consistency — and let’s not forget love, fun, family, and community. These are values that define the daily work and program structure of the Youth Orchestra of the Lower 9th Ward (YOL9W). Founded on passion, driven by love and sweat equity, and aimed at breaking the poverty cycle, the program began with five students in September 2011 in a converted Walgreens on the corner of St. Claude and Caffin Avenue in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. Now there are 42 students (with a waiting list), in only two short years.

YOL9W is modeled after the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra System, El Sistema, which produced Gustavo Dudamel (current conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic) and Edicson Ruiz, the youngest member of the Berlin Philharmonic. El Sistema was founded in 1975 and based on the principal that music can be used as a vehicle for social change. YOL9W is currently one of over forty El Sistema inspired programs across the U.S. For thirty weeks each year, students attend hour-long music classes four days a week. Highly qualified teachers work with small groups of students on scales, repertoire, technique, and the fundamentals of reading music. In one year, the students have performed eight public concerts at local music venues, church services, and Tulane and Loyola University. Currently, the program enrolls students ages five to fourteen. All YOL9W students live in the Upper 9th Ward, the Lower 9th Ward, and the 7th Ward. In addition to daily instrumental music lessons, the students also receive a healthy dinner and a half hour of homework help.

Although the program is called a “youth orchestra” the name is actually quite deceiving; YOL9W is not a training program for classical music. The program’s repertoire is selected and arranged for strings (violins, cellos, and basses) from traditional New Orleans’ tunes, spirituals, hymns, and the music of local composers. The staff and board continue to build a program that teaches young people about New Orleans’ music and the importance of their culture and local traditions. This year, the students performed “I’ll Fly Away,” “Saints Go Marching In,” and “Iko Iko.” YOL9W students have had the opportunity to work with a bassist from Preservation Hall, a jazz violinist, and several other outstanding local musicians.

In addition to teaching music, the program aims to create a community among its students, faculty, staff, and volunteers. YOL9W teachers frequently take their students to outside performances, stay late to have dinner with the kids, and show up on their days off to celebrate holidays and birthdays. As the program continues to grow and progress, YOL9W will strive to create an environment in which its students stay motivated and strive for excellence. Centered in “blighted” neighborhoods in the 9th Wards, YOL9W offers kids a safe environment and a positive way to channel their energy. By creating opportunities, training competent musicians, and inspiring students to achieve their full potential, the YOL9W staff and board hope to see personal and musical growth throughout the years. Next school year, YOL9W plans to partner with the Sarasota Orchestra to send ten students to their three-week camp in Florida, host musicians from Youth Orchestra of the Americas, and send several students to New York in partnership with Operation Southern Comfort and the Tri-Valley YMCA.

More information on the program is available at:

YOL9W Todd fans check

YOL9W recently had a visit from musician/producer Todd Rundgren and some of his “Fan Family” who donated $10,000 to YOL9W in honor of Todd’s 65th birthday.

E-Newsletter / May 2013

Posted: Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 at 3:33 pm in E-Newsletters

US/LINKS Teleconference – May 20

Posted: Friday, May 10th, 2013 at 7:25 pm in Opportunities

Capitalizing on its expertise in managing multiple grant programs, NPN has been asked to administer US/LINKS, a program of travel and residency grants offered by two national organizations seeking to increase knowledge and opportunities for the free flow of artists and ideas. Supporting Diverse Arts Spaces (SDAS), funded by the Ford Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC)’s Space for Change organizations, and individual professional visual and performing U.S.-based artists supported or commissioned by these organizations may apply for the curatorial/research travel grants or 3-5 week Creative Exchange Residencies.

Ahead of the June 2 deadline, a second informational teleconference has been scheduled for Monday, May 20, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. EDT — Call-in: (218) 339-2500; Code: 569956


E-Newsletter / April 2013

Posted: Monday, April 22nd, 2013 at 10:29 am in E-Newsletters

NET Hosts MicroFest USA in Honolulu

Posted: Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 at 5:17 pm in Field News, Opportunities

National Summit and Learning Exchange, June 13-18, 2013

Sunrise and sunset performances, graffiti artists, stories of radical arts-based political action – the MicroFest is a journey across the island of Oahu. Beginning in Honolulu, the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET) will explore this urban environment, bridging the local and national through performances and conversations, ending with a group retreat to the rural North Shore for reflection and sharing.

This National Summit & Learning Exchange is the culmination of the MicroFest USA series, asking: “How does art impact your community?” and bringing together local and national participants to share success stories, challenges, inspirations, and questions about art-based community development. We invite you to be a part of this national conversation about art-based community development. Read some of the case studies and reflections of the three MicroFests here (

Registration is currently open and includes five days of housing, most meals, local ground transportation, and programming. Travel subsidies are available for NET members – Yes, you can join NET now and apply for the subsidy! (

For questions contact: Ashley Sparks, MicroFest USA Event Coordinator at


Bringing Art to Life

Posted: Friday, April 5th, 2013 at 2:32 pm in Field News

Bringing Art to Life:
New Report Looks at Unorthodox Effort
to Deliver Poetry to People

A new report explores the O, Miami poetry festival’s efforts to bring the art form to life by dropping poems from helicopters, sewing them into clothing, placing them throughout a botanical garden and more.

Commissioned by Knight Foundation, the report not only chronicles the rise of Miami’s art scene and the unorthodox, inaugural O, Miami festival, it also offers insights for any cultural organization trying to engage new audiences and reframe art for their communities.

In a blog post by O, Miami co-founder Scott Cunningham provides How-To tips to producing an event: large or small.

 “Today’s audiences demand to be engaged, and often that means taking art out of the symphony halls and into people’s everyday lives,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president/arts at Knight Foundation, whose art program inspired and funded the festival. “Whether you’re a poetry enthusiast, organizing a small music festival, or more globally trying to reach audiences at any level, O, Miami will resonate.”

The report is part of Knight Foundation’s Reporter Analysis series, where Knight commissions independent reporters to evaluate programs it funds. O, Miami: How a festival infused a city with poetry was written by Brett Sokol, the arts editor for Ocean Drive magazine whose writing on Miami’s cultural scene has also appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine and Slate. Judy J. Miller, who oversaw Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage while serving as managing editor of the Miami Herald, edited the report.

Video and photos are available at

E-Newsletter / March 2013

Posted: Friday, March 22nd, 2013 at 10:24 am in E-Newsletters

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