YOSA receives NEA grant to support Artist-In-Residence Community Program

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced Dec. 4 that Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA) is one of 153 not-for-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grant. YOSA is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support its Artist-in-Residence program for 2013.

In this FY 2013 funding round, the NEA received 393 eligible Challenge America Fast-Track applications, requesting a total of $3,930,000.  The NEA will award 153 Challenge America Fast-Track grants totaling $1.53 million to organizations in 41 states, Washington, DC, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These include 49 first-time Arts Endowment grantees. The Challenge America Fast-Track category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability.

The YOSA 2013 Artist-in-Residence program will feature electric violinist Tracy Silverman and composer Kenji Bunch in the Texas premier of a new concerto for electric violin and orchestra in November, 2013.  This creates an unparalleled opportunity for the students of the YOSA Philharmonic. While in San Antonio, the pair will also work with underserved students in YOSA MÁS (Music After School), a program in conjunction with the Good Samaritan Community Services in San Antonio’s near west side.  Similarly, YOSA is establishing school partnerships for Silverman and Bunch to lead workshops for the 440 string students in the Roosevelt Compact of the NEISD and at Judson High School.  The residency will culminate in a concert at the Majestic Theatre.

“To say that we are excited and grateful for this grant would be an understatement,” says Steven Payne, Executive Director of YOSA.  “The NEA’s support of our program will create new opportunities for hundreds of student musicians in San Antonio, many of whom would never have an opportunity to meet and work with musicians of the caliber of Tracy Silverman and Kenji Bunch. For YOSA, to be part of the Orchestra Engagement Lab, which integrates community engagement into the process of commissioning new music is equally as exciting.”

"Being awarded an NEA grant is an accomplishment the Department for Culture and Creative Development hopes to see all of our City-funded agencies achieve,” said Felix Padrón, Executive Director of the City of San Antonio's Department for Culture and Creative Development (formerly the Office of Cultural Affairs)."The NEA has established a high standard of excellence and innovation and we are proud of YOSA for being one of eight organizations in Texas that have achieved this level of recognition.  We look forward to seeing this collaboration in action.”

The NEA was founded on the principle that the arts belong to all the people of the United States," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "We're proud that Challenge America Fast-Track grants bring more opportunities for arts engagement to underserved communities."

See the complete listing of projects recommended for Challenge America Fast-Track grant support at www.arts.gov.


The Youth Orchestras of San Antonio is the premier orchestral experience for youth citywide, with 368 musicians in five orchestras.  The mission of YOSA is to enhance education, enrich the community and transform lives by pursuing excellence in classical music in a stimulating, nurturing and fun environment. The organization focuses on making music education accessible to all youth.  YOSA serves more than 1,500 young musicians annually.  It offers no cost music tuition and orchestral experience to young students in the YOSA MÁS program and works in partnership with the Roosevelt Compact Schools, offering comprehensive programs in five schools as well as clinics to more than 75 additional schools each year.

The Orchestra Engagement Lab is a commissioning consortium for new hybrid music and community engagement projects. It creates a place to meet, imagine and design bold public engagement projects that build community and inspire audiences. The annual project began in 2012 with nine orchestras: Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Champlain Philharmonic, Little Orchestra Society, Montpelier Chamber Orchestra, Ocean City Pops, Stockton Symphony, and Youth Orchestras of San Antonio.