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Met Opera Guild Receives NEA Grant


The Metropolitan Opera Guild's School Programs department is one of just four arts organizations selected to receive a maximum Art Works grant of $100,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts, in the Arts Education discipline. Awarded to support public engagement with art that meets the highest standards of excellence, lifelong learning in the arts, and the enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts, the Art Works grant will help the Guild to provide its Students Compose Opera and Teaching Through Opera programming to schools throughout New York and New Jersey.

"The Metropolitan Opera Guild recognizes the powerful impact a positive musical experience can have on the development of a child," explains Stuart B. Holt, the Guild's Director of School Programs and Community Engagement. "This award from the National Endowment of the Arts not only celebrates this impact, but provides the funds for us to continue to offer the highest caliber of arts education and teaching."

By means of its School Programs, the Metropolitan Opera Guild provides high-quality, accessible opera and plays an important part in arts education, enriching the lives of children and educators both inside and outside the classroom.

Offered in pre-K through twelfth grade, Students Compose Opera enables students to use the elements of opera-libretto writing, music composition, and theatrical staging-to compose and present their own musical dramas based on source material drawn from their Language Arts or Social Studies curricula. Guild Artists provide weekly opera-based classroom instruction, as well as planning and professional development sessions for teachers. Students have the opportunity to perform for one another and the community throughout the year, and, in grades 3 and above, are invited to attend a final dress rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera.

Teaching Through Opera is a year-long professional development program, helping educators of all grades to integrate the arts into their ongoing instruction. Through a five-day workshop, team planning sessions, classroom support, and network meetings, teachers build the knowledge and skills to incorporate opera-based learning-text analysis, libretto writing, music composition, and theatrical staging-into the classroom. Again, students in grades 3 and above have the opportunity to attend a final dress rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera.

For more than 75 years, the Metropolitan Opera Guild has provided substantial support to the Met and has greatly enhanced the public's appreciation of opera in general. Since its founding by the pioneering philanthropist Eleanor Robson Belmont in 1935, the Guild has contributed more than $250 million to the Met. The organization runs one of the country's most innovative and far-reaching music education programs, which encompasses more than 16,000 students and teachers in seven states. In 2010, the Guild received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's "Arts-in-Education" Model Development and Dissemination Program for its Comprehensive Opera-Based Arts Learning and Teaching (COBALT) project. The Guild also publishes Opera News, the world's largest-circulation magazine devoted to opera, and produces an annual series of major public programs, including Met Legends, the Met Mastersingers, and the Opera News Awards, which have been called "opera's Oscars" (Wall Street Journal).

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