grant partners

Getting teachers and principals to the “Room Where it Happens”

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  by Morgan Beckford When I first returned to Memphis after teaching in Virginia, I worked for Opera Memphis as the Coordinator for Education and Outreach. My charge was simple: find opportunities for local students to engage with Opera Memphis. I accepted the challenge; over the first month, I drafted an email list that included […]

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The real work of collaboration

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by Doug Waddill Ever since the dawn of the motivational poster, we have been inundated with clichés about how working together will make us stronger.  I know right now you are picturing the rowboat on the water with the bold letter caption underneath reading “TEAM — Together Everyone Achieves More,” the framed quote of “Teamwork […]

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The Spark

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by Jeff Kollath “You can’t start a fire without a spark…” – Bruce Springsteen I began my career at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music on June 8, 2015; I met staff from the Memphis Music Initiative on June 22, 2015. Needless to say, MMI has been there all along for the museum and […]

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Angel Street tackles after-school transportation challenges

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What began as a small children’s choir for a women’s Christmas event is now a fully operational after-school music-mentoring program. Angel Street serves girls ages 8-18 through musical performance training, songwriting, production, private music lessons and more. The all-girl environment provides a safe place for participants to share their voice both inward and outward. With […]

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Memphis Black Arts Alliance: thriving in 2017

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by Lar’Juanette Williams Memphis, Tennessee, long ago established itself as the city with heavy artistic influences that span from music ideologies to dance, voice, live stage and visual artistic impression. Many flocked to Beale Street to see, hear, feel and experience the sensation of artistic excellence. It was not only a place to hear good music, but […]

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Building diversity in classical music

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by Lecolion Washington My organization, PRIZM Ensemble, is based in Memphis and is focused on building a diverse musical community. Though there is a growing conversation around diversity in classical music, PRIZM Ensemble is among that small group who demonstrate what can happen when an organization is wholly dedicated to this ideal and holds themselves […]

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A conversation with IRIS Artist Fellows

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  This fall, MMI partnered with IRIS Orchestra to launch the IRIS Artist Fellowship. Focused on increasing diversity in classical music and creating a pipeline from academia to professional life, the fellowship brought three string players to Memphis in August for a one-year program. They’ll perform with IRIS, play as a stand-alone ensemble (C3 Strings) and […]

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MMI makes the dream work

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In 2013, Memphis Public Library Director Keenon McCloy had a dream. She envisioned building a high tech lab exclusively for teens where they could learn digital skills, express themselves creatively, and gain exposure to career pathways. Fast forward to September of 2015 and the opening of CLOUD901 in the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. The […]

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