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VSO receives $15,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant

sbirkenmeyer@vagazette.com

As the Virginia Symphony Orchestra works to expand its community outreach, it’s garnering national attention.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded the organization a grant of $15,000 with its latest round of grants in May.

“Winning this national award in a very competitive field is not only gratifying, but the funding provided helps advance our mission to connect with the community beyond the concert hall,” said Christy Havens, the VSO’s director of orchestra activities.

The money will help support two VSO programs. Generations in Unison launched in 2017 as a means of helping memory care and assisted living residents cognitively, emotionally, socially and physically. The grant will also fund a concert in the Afternoon Encores program, which provides matinee performances for Hampton Roads seniors who might not otherwise be able to attend a VSO endeavor.

“With this grant, we will make the experience of live music more accessible to seniors suffering from dementia and memory loss and directly improve their lives,” Havens said. “The impact of both programs is evident in the excitement and engagement with the program by those directly involved.”

Jane Chu, chair of the NEA, said the funding the VSO programs showcases how her organization invests in local communities and celebrate the arts simultaneously. The grant comes as part of Art Works, the NEA’s largest funding category, which supports art that promotes learning and community involvement.

“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” Chu said.

The VSO returns to Williamsburg for performances during Funhouse Fest June 22-23.

Birkenmeyer can be reached by email at sbirkenmeyer@vagazette.com, by phone at 757-790-3029 or on Twitter @sethbirkenmeyer.

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