The Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra has received a $28,500 matching grant from the California Arts Council.
The grant was a part of a CAC program to award those focusing on addressing geographic equity, enabling autonomy and sustainability for smaller organizations and growing the strength of local arts agencies and their partnerships.
The arts council is a state agency with a mission of strengthening arts, culture and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California. It supports local arts infrastructure and programming statewide through grants, initiatives and services.
SCVYO has been a part of the valley for more than 35 years as a nonprofit organization and the only non-school youth-based orchestra program in the valley. The organization provides music education in traditional, classical music as well as offering innovative curriculum.
“We focus on pan-cultural, cross-cultural music,” said Bess Knight, treasurer and member of the board of directors for SCVYO. “We don’t just focus on the traditional, western, classical design, but we bring West African and Turkish music and Indian music and we also bring in guest artists to speak to the kids who can demonstrate, so we’re not the typical play Bach, Beethoven. We play women composers, minorities.”
The SCVYO curriculum educates students on how different cultures can live harmoniously on any scale.
Knight believes this is what made them stand out from the other grant applicants.
This application marked their first application for the CAC grant, and it all started with one Google search.
“I was really shocked because it’s statewide,” said Knight. “I was just like, ‘Oh my God.’ I had to read it like three times. I was just flabbergasted. I was so happy.”
The funds will go toward offsetting operational losses due to the pandemic, including a pandemic-driven decline in registration for the program.
“We are extremely grateful for this opportunity to continue the arts for all students in the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond,” said SCVYO board Chair Julie Vazquez. “With this grant we will be able to recover some of the losses due to the pandemic and rebuild for new opportunities. We aim to provide classical music education and collaboration with our local elementary schools through colleges and conservatories.”
The grant was awarded on May 17 and will last until Aug. 31, 2023. In that time the SCVYO must match the $28,500 grant through fundraising and donations.
SCVYO is accepting donations at bit.ly/3NOtv3C.