Northwest Symphony Orchestra receives $10,000 ‘Challenge America’ NEA grant

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Burien’s Northwest Symphony Orchestra recently received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), as part of the NEA’s 2016 ‘Challenge America’ award.

In its first 50 years, the NEA awarded more than $5 billion in grants to recipients in every state and U.S. jurisdiction, the only arts funder in the nation to do so.

Recently, the NEA announced awards totaling more than $27.6 million in its first funding round for fiscal year 2016, including this $10,000 grant, which the symphony will use for its concert and education program in the Highline School District, in January and February 2016.

The Challenge America category supports projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Challenge America grants are comparatively small investments that have a big impact in their communities.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The arts are part of our everyday lives – no matter who you are or where you live – they have the power to transform individuals, spark economic vibrancy in communities, and transcend the boundaries across diverse sectors of society. Supporting projects like the one from Northwest Symphony Orchestra offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

“This grant helps us to greatly expand our ‘Symphony for Students’ education program in the Highline School District, and also helps support our unique season of featuring local women composers,” added NWSO Director Anthony Spain.

Project Description:

The project includes a concert on Friday, February 12, 2016 that features the world premiere of “For Malala” by Sumi Toonuka, as well as other works- including the Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra by Samuel Jones- featuring Ko-ichiro Yamamoto (Principal Trombone of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra). The education component of this grant includes Music Director Anthony Spain, and Northwest Symphony Orchestra musicians, providing instruction to students in the Highline School District, as well as a master class given by Ko-ichiro Yamamoto to high school students in the Highline School District.

This is the fourth time the Northwest Symphony Orchestra has received a Challenge America Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to

For more information on the NWSO, visit

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