THAT’S MUSIC TO THEIR EARS

 EMPOWERMENT ZONE AWARDS $150,000 GRANT TO
OPUS 118
HARLEM SCHOOL OF MUSIC

 New York, N.Y. – Whether it has been music, dance or art, culture has always been an integral and essential part of Upper Manhattan.  As such the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp. (UMEZ), through its Cultural Industry Investment Fund (CIIF), seeks to develop and build mid-size organizations in Upper Manhattan that have been identified as cultural assets to their community. 

 On Monday, June 9th, UMEZ awarded Opus 118 Harlem School of Music, a $150,000 grant to assist in strengthening the school’s infrastructure and simultaneously increasing community outreach and involvement.  With these goals in mind, the school intends to increase both contributed and earned revenue; and achieve a greater presence in Harlem through performances at community venues and public, community events.

 “UMEZ’s grant to Opus 118 Harlem School of Music will allow it to further improve upon an outstanding and internationally heralded reputation as one of the finest educational institutions of its kind,” said Kenneth J. Knuckles, UMEZ’s President & CEO.

 Maurine Knighton, UMEZ’s Senior Vice-President for Program and Nonprofit Investments said, “Opus 118 is an essential Upper Manhattan cultural organization. We are pleased to count them among the impressive array of local cultural producers and look forward to partnering with them in the weeks and months to come.”

 
ABOUT THE Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone  DEVELOPMENT CORP.

 

UMEZ seeks to revitalize distressed communities by using geographically targeted public funds and tax incentives as catalysts for private investment. In Upper Manhattan, the communities that lie within the Empowerment Zone's borders include Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood.




ABOUT THE CULTURAL INDUSTRY INVESTMENT FUND

 UMEZ’s CIIF celebrates Upper Manhattan’s rich past while creating new legacies.  The work of the CIIF is two-fold:  community building through a cultural and economic lens; and, a marketing of place that repositions Upper Manhattan as one of New York City’s primary cultural districts.  The goals of the CIIF are sustaining the local economy by promoting development, revitalization and tourism; making strategic cultural investments; and, strengthening the cultural ecosystem.

 The CIIF provides support to cultural organizations that use the arts as a tool for economic development, job creation and growth of cultural tourism, within the five communities of Upper Manhattan.  Primary means of support include funding and provision of technical assistance.

 
ABOUT  OPUS 118 HARLEM SCHOOL OF MUSIC

            Opus 118 Harlem School of Music is a Harlem-based community music school that provides high-quality music instruction to over 600 students each year through In-School, After-School, and summer camp programs.  It was founded in 1991 by Roberta Guaspari, Harvard Educator Ed Miller, authors Barry Crumbly and Ellen Weiss, and parents Gene Horton and Dani Toomer. Impelled by budget cuts that would eliminate the public school violin program Ms. Guaspari had conducted for many years in East Harlem elementary schools, these six decided to create a private, nonprofit organization to save the program and to continue to serve public school students in low-income areas.

 In the 15 years since its founding, Opus 118 has provided instruction to some 5,000 students and given significant cultural enrichment opportunities to students, their families, and others in the Harlem community through public performances and other cultural activities.  Moreover, the national visibility of Opus 118 has brought positive attention to Harlem:  In addition to the two films that have been produced about Opus 118, appearances outside of Harlem and internationally broadcasted events and features about the organization have fostered perceptions of Harlem as an exciting, vibrant community that values and celebrates its residents.

 

 

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