U.S. Sistema programs, their students, and their founders win awards regularly for their accomplishments. Just recently one (Boston String Academy) was honored for contributions to the arts in Massachusetts; another (Josiah Quincy Orchestra Program) was recognized for music education by a national foundation; and the founder of a choral Sistema program (Alysia Lee, Sister Cities Girlchoir) was named as a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow.
Now, for the first time, a U.S. Sistema program has been recognized not for its contributions to arts education, but for its powerful community impact. The Price Hill Creative Community Festival (PHCCF) is a free annual festival hosted by the Sistema program MYCincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. The PHCCF is one of ten finalists for the Robert Gard Award of Americans for the Arts, which celebrates projects that integrate the arts into the community in meaningful, measurable ways. Whether MYCincinnati wins the Gard Award or not, it is significant to have a project with Sistema roots recognized for measurable impact on its local community. We often claim that Sistema programs change communities, and here is a national honor affirming it.
The mission of PHCCF is to use collaborative performing arts as a tool to build a more creative and inclusive community. This is exemplified in the festival’s Artist-in-Residence program, which connects renowned performing artists with the young musicians of MYCincinnati to co-create brand new collaborative work. These performance projects are intergenerational, experimental, and extraordinarily diverse. The premieres of these collaborative works are featured at PHCCF along with more than 60 other performances from Cincinnati’s broader creative community, primarily featuring artists of color, LGBTQ+ and immigrant artists.
PHCCF leverages MYCincinnati’s strong connections with neighborhood youth and residents, creating an expansive and celebratory space within which professional artists, residents, and community organizations can be in the right relationship to one another in service of equity. Price Hill is Cincinnati’s most racially, ethnically, and economically diverse neighborhood, and MYCincinnati has worked for nearly a decade to create conditions within which a culture of inclusion, support, and solidarity can grow. MYCincinnati currently engages 120 students daily, and PHCCF amplifies MYCincinnati’s impact by engaging hundreds of artists and thousands of residents in the summer.
Date Published: 7 May 2019