Vancouver Opera’s music education outreach programs to youth will be bolstered this year with a $50,000 grant from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation in conjunction with Seaspan and Southern Railway of British Columbia Limited (SRY). This is the third year in a row Vancouver Opera has received a grant to support youth programming from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, the charitable arm of the Washington Companies.
Children face daunting barriers to arts education due to widespread reductions in arts funding in schools. Financial barriers and the absence of low-cost arts programming means many children do not have the opportunity to express themselves through performing arts. This funding will help Vancouver Opera fill this critical gap by delivering a range of programs to students in grades 1 to 12, making arts education more accessible and more equitable.
“We are proud to continue supporting Vancouver Opera’s important work to engage students and make the arts more accessible to them,” said Kyle Washington, Executive Chairman, Seaspan. “By bringing diverse opportunities to students to learn about opera and spark their creativity, Vancouver Opera is strengthening the arts and helping to enrich our communities.”
Vancouver Opera’s educational programs reach students across the Lower Mainland, with some programs operating on a provincial scale. In a typical year, these programs may reach upwards of 20,000 students. This comprehensive programming includes:
- Vancouver Opera in Schools showcases a digital performance of our recent commission The Flight of the Hummingbird, an opera about the climate change that features Indigenous story and imagery.
- Project Opera entrusts elementary classes with the creation of an opera.
- Opera Lab provides resources for students and teachers to engage with the themes of professional productions.
- The Capstone Mentorship Program connects interested grade 12 students with a mentor who is an opera professional to demystify the field and build valuable connections.
Tom Wright, General Director, Vancouver Opera, said, “Vancouver Opera’s education programs deliver incredible impact to students who would not otherwise have the chance to connect with the performing arts in a meaningful way. This programming would not be possible without the generous support we have received from the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation. We are deeply grateful for this continued partnership.”
With the belief that giving all children and youth the opportunity to explore their interest and involvement in the arts is the first step to achieving greater equity and diversity among opera audiences, performers, and professionals, Vancouver Opera’s offerings create connections beyond the classroom, engaging students from diverse backgrounds with opera on their own terms.
For more information on Vancouver Opera’s Schools Programs: https://www.vancouveropera.ca/learn/education/.