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Kaufman’s Special Music School to Receive $25,000 Grant from National Endowment for the Arts


National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $25,000 to Kaufman Music Center for Special Music School’s Music Program. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as Special Music School in New York City, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

“Providing talented, determined kids with a comprehensive music education has never been more important,” says Lydia Kontos, Executive Director of Kaufman Music Center since 1986 and founder of Special Music School. “Kaufman Music Center is deeply grateful for the longstanding partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts in making the Music Program at Special Music School possible. The agency’s seal of approval on our work means so much to us, and has served as a welcoming beacon for other partners.”

In 1996, in response to the belief that musical talent which is undeveloped is lost to the individual and to society, Kaufman Music Center partnered with the New York City Department of Education to create Special Music School (M. 859), the only K-12 public school in the city for musically gifted children, at no cost to their families. In this unique partnership, the Center’s expert team of musicians and educators designs and provides the conservatory-prep, state/national standards-aligned Music Program free-of-charge to students, and the Department of Education provides a rigorous academic program. The impact of a deep music education on students’ lives is extraordinary: the School is ranked #1 in New York State based on state test scores and 100% of its first senior class graduated in 2017 and was accepted to top conservatories and colleges such as The Julliard School and Columbia University.

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit