During his campaign, President Obama called for the creation of a national “Artist Corps” to bring artists as public servants into low-income and underserved communities to engage youth in arts and arts learning. The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act signed in March 2009 included a bi-partisan amendment calling for the creation of an ‘Artist and Musician Corps’.
In August 2009, Arts Corps – along with our national partner, Music National Service (MNS) and groups and musicians in Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco/Oakland and New Orleans – stepped forward to make Congress and President Obama’s call for national Artist and MusicianCorps a reality.
Arts Corps was responsible for raising $160,000 to fund the MusicianCorps Seattle program. Thanks to the generosity of many individuals, foundations and corporations, we were able to launch and run an amazing program last year.
MusicianCorps Seattle funders include:
Jodi Green & Mike Halperin
City of Seattle
Frye Art Museum
Raynier Institute & Foundation
US Bancorps Foundation
Building upon the strengths of our existing program and partnerships, Arts Corps developed the MusicianCorps Seattle pilot program and sent four outstanding musicians -all experienced and passionate teaching artists – into low incomes schools and community settings in Seattle. The Fellows committed to a year of service to do transformative work with youth, schools and communities through music instruction and civic engagement.
Our goals for the pilot year included expanding access to music education for youth, developing musical skills and creative habits in participants, fostering civic engagement. Data from the pilot year shows:
- 4 MusicianCorps Seattle Fellows working in full time service to communities
- Ongoing music learning and service in 5 public schools and 5 community centers, as well as in one housing residence and on cultural arts center
- 234 students served by on-going, direct music education
- 20 one-time civic engagement and service events
- 2,500 youth and adults reached by civic engagement and service events
MusicianCorps Seattle Fellows
Eduardo Mendonça: a multi-talented musician, producer and composer, is a native of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil who holds a masters in arts education from the Music Institute of the Catholic University of Salvador.
Service Sites: Seattle Center and Seattle Parks and Recreation
Service Mission: Serve as a music ambassador – teach classes to youth at park sites, train parks staff in ways to bring more music into their programs, facilitate field trips to community festivals and performances and foster city-wide civic engagement through music.
Amos Miller: musician and producer who has produced tracks for nearly all of Seattle’s hip-hop and R&B talent, including Piece Kelley, Choklate, Silent Lamb Project, Vitamin D and Damien Black.
Service Site: Youngstown Cultural Arts Center
Service Mission: Support an initiative to create a youth run record label and radio program; teach audio classes afterschool; and help to coordinate the school-day and after school providers in the building (Southwest Interagency School, All Access at Youngstown and Arts Corps) to work together to support this project through video production, graphic art and songwriting.
Carla Moreno: a pianist, vocalist and certified music teacher, as well as a world music explorer, writer, and DJ.
Service Site: Low Income Housing Institute, Meadowbrook View Apartments
Service Mission: Create vibrant communities in housing projects with immigrant families, through music-rich afterschool programs, intergenerational and cross-cultural music exchanges and performances that celebrate the diversity and cultures of all resident families.
Aaron Walker-Loud: an educator, composer, producer, drummer and director of many music collaborations and services, including The Flood, Big World Breaks, and One Family, Inc.
Service Sites: Seattle Public Schools Central District Cluster – Washington Middle and Leschi and Bailey Gatzert Elementary Schools, Seattle Music Partners
Service Mission: Engage more low income youth and youth of color in district music programs, through a supportive pipeline of drumline classes after school, and in the school day workshops and ensembles at Washington Middle school and feeder elementary schools. Train and support high school students as they engage in music public service through Seattle Music Partners programs at these same schools. Strengthen the collaboration among music specialists, musicians and service programs in Seattle’s Central District school cluster.
On October 25, 2009, the MusicianCorps Fellows directed and performed in “Why Music,” a benefit for MusicianCorps Seattle held at the Moore Theatre to an audience of 350. In the spirit of service, 85 performers donated their time to this performance. Thank you to Seattle’s musicians who helped us launch MusicianCorps Seattle at our incredible ‘Why Music’ celebration. Click here for photos and more.