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UniSound Launches Black Teaching Artist-in-Residence Program

The inaugural residencies have been awarded to multi-genre performance artist Lyn Starr and flutist Brittany Trotter.

This February, UniSound launches its new Black Teaching Artist-in-Residence program (BTAR), an initiative to support the music practice and professional development of Black teaching artists in Greater Pittsburgh. Starting this week and lasting seven months, the inaugural residencies have been awarded to multi-genre performance artist Lyn Starr and flutist Brittany Trotter.

UniSound is an alliance of organizations dedicated to creating a more accessible, sustainable and equitable youth music ecosystem in Greater Pittsburgh. The artists-in-residence will serve as thought partners with UniSound and its member organizations, and each teaching artist will conclude their residency with a project of their choosing, such as a workshop, a recital or a lecture.

Each resident will receive a monthly stipend of $1,000, for a total of $7,000 over the course of the program, as well as opportunities for professional mentorship, networking, and up to $2,000 in additional resources toward developing their artistic practice and career.

"Many of us have wanted to do the BTAR and similar programs for years," says Dr. Kendra Ross, UniSound Steering Committee member, who, along with ACT3 Consulting Partners Denele Biggs and Tanika Harris, was a lead architect of the BTAR program. "Representation [of Black people in teaching the arts] is important, and that representation should be normalized."

She adds, "Equity is obviously important, but also important is simply considering whether artists can even continue to do art in the current climate. We need to provide these opportunities wherever possible."



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