South Los Angeles-Based White Hall Arts Academy Receives COVID-19 Funding From The Lewis Prize For Music


( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) New Funding for the White Hall Arts Academy will Support Holistic Music Education Programs for Students in Minority Communities

ENSPIRE Contributor: Amanda Hirsch

The Lewis Prize for Music, a creative arts philanthropy, announced the recipients of its COVID-19 Community Response Fund. A total of $1.25 million will be awarded to 32 Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations across the U.S. that have adapted and responded to the pressing needs of the young people they serve amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The White Hall Arts Academy received funding of $25,000 for its youth music education programs.

With a focus on private instruction and individual performer development, the White Hall Arts Academy (WHAA) specializes in bringing out the unique qualities each student has to offer. Increasing strengths and improving weaknesses is their mission. WHAA has been voted “Top 3 Music Schools” in Los Angeles for three consecutive years. The organization was founded in 2011 when black female founder, Tanisha Hall, transitioned from her 15-year music industry career, working with the likes of Tracey Edmonds and Chaka Khan, to being a fulltime music educator.

Photo: Student at The White Hall Arts Academy.

“We are thankful and excited to be able to continue to teach, grow, and connect more students around the underserved neighborhoods of South Los Angeles and the global arts community at large,” expressed Hall. “The funds from the Lewis Prize are going to allow our efforts to expand exponentially and better support the very deserving students we serve.”

The Lewis Prize for Music invests in youth music organizations and their leaders to facilitate positive change through access to music education. Each of the COVID-19 Community Response Fund recipients, including the White Hall Arts Academy, provides young people with opportunities to learn, perform and create music while also serving their immediate and unique needs including food, transportation, mental health, and academics.

From Flint, Michigan to Montgomery, Alabama, to Oakland, and California, recipients cultivate leadership opportunities and safe spaces for the young people they support. Many of the recipients have budgets of less than $100,000 per year, and two-thirds are led by people of color. Through community-driven and youth-focused approaches, recipient organizations have become safe havens for the young people they serve during COVID-19.

Photo: Students at The White Hall Arts Academy.

“Access to music enriches the social fabric of our lives,” said Daniel Lewis, Founder and Chairman of the Lewis Prize for Music. “The organizations and leaders we have chosen to support in these times play a critical role in the lives and communities of the young people they support. In the face of unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 and racial injustice across the country, Creative Youth Development organizations are devoting all of their resources to uplift both the creative and material well-being of young people and their families. We are thrilled to support these organizations, including the White Hall Arts Academy, and advocate for the entire Creative Youth Development field.”

With the assistance of the grant, the White Hall Arts Academy will be able to provide stability for those children whose lives have been fragmented as a result of COVID-19. The lessons and classes offer students a temporary escape from the hardships around them, as many of their family members have been required to stay home as nonessential workers, resulting in loss of income.

Photo: Students at The White Hall Arts Academy.

“The Lewis Prize for Music is committed to supporting young people and the adults in their lives who give them love, safety, and a musical voice,” said Dalouge Smith, CEO of The Lewis Prize for Music. “These 32 grantees work to break down barriers of inequality every day. They also do more than offer programs and services to young people, they include them in decision-making, which is needed now more than ever.”

More information about the COVID-19 Community Response Fund recipients can be found here
The Lewis Prize for Music will open its second annual Accelerator Award process in the summer.

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