Phoenix Conservatory of Music programs receive federal accolades

Regina Nixon, Executive Director at Phoenix Conservatory of Music’s College Prep Program and 16-year-old Marcus Wolf accept the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from Jane Chu, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts ceremony on Nov. 9. (Photo by Steven E. Purcell)

As Phoenix’s arts community continues to grow and thrive, one of its own arts and education organizations has received national recognition of its programming for young people.

The Phoenix Conservatory of Music was recognized with a 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the nation’s highest honor for after school arts and humanities programs, according to a press release.

PCM was one of 12 organizations across the country to receive the honor, which recognizes effectiveness in promoting learning and life skills in young people by engaging them through creative youth development programs.

In addition to the national recognition bestowed by receipt of the prestigious award, PCM will also receive $10,000 to support its programming and engage more young people from the community, the press release stated.

“Phoenix is home to an incredible arts community, and organizations like the Phoenix Conservatory of Music are key to the city’s cultural vibrancy,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said in a prepared statement. “This award is testament to the great work PCM is doing to expose children in our community to the arts and music education.”

The award recognizes the country’s best creative youth development programs for using engagement in the arts and the humanities to generate a wide range of positive outcomes, such as increases in academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment.

The awardees — chosen from a pool of 350 nominations and 50 finalists — were also recognized for improving literacy and language abilities, communication and performance skills, and cultural awareness.

Programs that receive the award are recognized as the country’s best in providing creative youth development programs and using engagement in the arts and humanities to generate a wide range of positive outcomes and exemplify how arts and humanities programs outside of the regular school day enrich the lives of young people throughout the country by teaching new skills, nurturing creativity, and building self-confidence.

(Photo by Steven E. Purcell)

These creative youth development programs offer high-quality and intensive instruction on weekends, afternoons, and summer vacations, providing a safe and productive space for young people in the hours when they are often the most vulnerable, the press release stated. Their carefully focused projects supplement in-school curricula with exposure to a wide variety of artistic and scholastic pursuits.

First presented in 1998, the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards were presented through a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, in cooperation with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

“This award highlights what we already know, that Phoenix has an amazing arts and culture community that deserves a national stage, with programs that give students the skills to achieve their dreams,” said Phoenix Vice Mayor Laura Pastor in a prepared statement.

“The Phoenix Conservatory of Music provides essential support and encouragement of students’ creativity and self-expression, something most young people can’t get during the regular school day.”

The award is the latest recognition to highlight the conservatory’s work with students. Earlier this year, Phoenix Conservatory of Music was a recipient of the 2017 Mayor’s Arts Awards for Innovative Organization of the Year, and in 2015 received the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award for Arts Education Organization.

In addition to Marcus Wolf, 16, of Phoenix receiving the award along with Phoenix Conservatory of Music Executive Director, Regina Nixon, Phoenix Conservatory of Music provided the student performance for the awards ceremony.

PCM students Lourde Childs, 13, of Peoria, and Michael Rodriguez, 15, of Phoenix, traveled to Washington D.C. on Nov. 9, and performed for the heads of our Federal Arts and Humanities Agencies. They performed Man In The Mirror recorded by Michael Jackson, written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett; produced by Quincy Jones, and received a standing ovation.

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