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The National Endowment for the Arts Wants More Music at SMH

The Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester and affiliated organizations are pleased to announce three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) totaling $70,000. The grantees are Eastman Performing Arts Medicine (in collaboration with the University of Rochester Medical Center); Gateways Music Festival in association with Eastman School of Music; and Eastman’s Department of Music Teaching and Learning.

Here are the specifics pertaining to each award:

Eastman Performing Arts Medicine: The grant will support updating the communication equipment used in the chapel at Strong Memorial Hospital adding a camera and microphones directly connected to the hospital television service. This will enable patients to view live programming from their rooms, which was previously impossible due to outdated and irreparable technology.

“This investment by the National Education Association is a tremendous, national recognition for UR’s Eastman Performing Arts Medicine initiative,” said URMFG CEO Michael F. Rotondo, M.D. Gaelen McCormick, Director of Eastman Performing Arts Medicine, adds, “The beautiful and historic chapel will be a place for music, dance, storytelling and spiritual services. Livestreaming the arts from our chapel to our hospital community of patients, families and staff will make a positive impact on their health and well-being.”

Eastman’s Department of Music Teaching and Learning: “Thanks to the funding provided by NEA and our respective institutions, we will compare three approaches to facilitating music creativity,” shares Alden Snell, Associate Professor of Music Teaching and Learning at Eastman. “While running this research study, entitled ‘Web-Based Measurement of Individual Students’ Creativity-Based Music Achievement,’ we will use a web application my colleagues and I developed in response to remote instruction during the COVID pandemic, providing teachers with a meaningful way to engage students in creating, performing, responding and connecting to music.”

The research team includes faculty from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia: David Stringham ‘03E, ‘07E (MM), ‘10E (PhD), Professor of Music, and Michael Stewart, Assistant Professor of Computer Science. Current Eastman doctoral candidate Benjamin Guerrero is assisting with content development for the project.

This project aligns with the team’s ongoing attempts to provide music educators with access to a free web-based platform wherein individual and student-level data can be measured in context of creating, performing, responding and connecting to music – the four artistic processes that ground national learning standards.

Gateways Music Festival in association with Eastman School of Music: The grant will support the portions of Gateways’ 2023-24 season that take place in calendar year 2023, specifically, the next festival which runs from Tuesday, October 17 through Sunday, October 22, 2023, in Rochester, NY and New York City. The Festival will release the complete schedule and artist lineup in mid-February of this year.

Gateways’ President & Artistic Director Lee Koonce said, “We are grateful for this support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Arts organizations from across the country apply for NEA grants and they are extremely competitive. Gateways’ receipt of this award is a testament to the high level of artistry of our musicians and the impact the Festival continues to make in the communities we serve.”

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects in communities nationwide,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, Ph.D. “Projects such as this one with Gateways Music Festival strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy.”

For more information on other projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, totaling more than $34 million in funding, visit


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