United Children’s Music Project awarded $20,000 grant from NEA

The UCMP is a music education non-profit based out of Weehawken serving the community for 10 years

The United Children’s Music Project (UCMP) has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The music instruction non-profit is located at the former Woodrow Wilson School at 80 Hauxhurst Avenue in Weehawken, having celebrated its 10th anniversary in March of this year. It was originally founded as the Union City Music Project in 2011 by Venezuelan native and Union City resident Melina Garcia.

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This grant will support the non-profit’s 2022 to 2023 After School Orchestral Music Education Project. With this NEA funding, UCMP’s ten-month/year After School Program will continue to provide free instruments and to train more than 150 underserved children and youth from Hudson County’s urban communities to play strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion in year-round area concerts.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation, including UCMP, with these grants, as they continue providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD.

“The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies,” continued Jackson. “The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”

Since coming to fruition in 2012, UCMP has not only given hundreds of city kids access to low-cost, high-quality music education, but also helped them reach their full potential through improved grades, more high school graduations, and college enrollment. UCMP’s After School Program is among 1,125 projects across America totaling more than $26.6 million that were selected by the NEA during their second round of Grants for Arts Projects for fiscal year 2022 funding.

“We are thrilled to receive UCMP’s first federal arts grant from the NEA,” said Melina Garcia, UCMP’s Executive Director and Founder. “After teaching our students virtually for two years during the pandemic, UCMP is back in person, with our remarkable teaching artists preparing our 3-to-18-year-olds for our 10th Year Anniversary Event and their Holiday Recitals. This NEA funding ensures that UCMP can reach even more Hudson County kids this fall with our transformative music education.”

UCMP’s mission is to create a better life for children and youth through affordable music education. UCMP envisions a world in which kids can develop academic and life skills through increased access to low-cost, high-quality music education opportunities that help them reach their full potential.

Founded in October 2011, UCMP was New Jersey’s first low-cost, after-school instrumental music program based on El Sistema, the transformative orchestral music education initiative serving 60 countries globally and America’s inner-city children and youth in over 160 cities. UCMP’s 34-week After School Program is once again operating in-person five afternoons per week, two hours per day from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., with 12 bilingual teaching artists currently instructing 125 local pre-k to 12th graders at the Weehawken site.

For more information, and to register your child for UCMP’s 2022 to 2023 programs, go to ucmusicproject.org, or contact Melina Garcia at mgarcia@ucmusicproject.org. For more information on other projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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