Detroit youth arts program bolstered by $75K grant from the NEA

What’s happening: The Detroit Excellence in Youth Arts (DEYA) program is receiving a financial boost from the National Endowment for the Arts by way of a $75,000 grant. The NEA Grants for Arts Projects award itself was awarded to DEYA program partner and nonprofit Connect Detroit, which will use the funds to bolster the youth arts initiative and its mission.

What it is: Founded in 2019 by Rick Sperling and Nafeesah Symonette, DEYA provides youth arts programs throughout Detroit with a collaborative platform to leverage funding and resources. It has so far succeeded in leveraging more than $250,000 in new funds for 28 youth arts providers in the city, as well as a number of young artists, teaching artists, and arts educators.

Why it’s important: “Receiving this grant from the National Endowment for the Arts is a testament to the vital role that arts and culture play in the development of our community,” says Dierk L. Hall, president and CEO of Connect Detroit.

“With this funding, Detroit Excellence in Youth Arts will be able to expand its work, specifically expanding its data project with Data Driven Detroit, supporting the newly formed Detroit Youth Arts Provider Network, and pursuing other collaborative opportunities. All this helps to ensure that more young artists have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. This grant not only recognizes the incredible talent of Detroit’s youth but also underscores the importance of investing in the arts as a means to foster creativity, connection, and growth within our city.”

Launch pad: It’s a big year for DEYA, which, in partnership with the recently formed Detroit Youth Arts Provider Network, debuted the Launch Awards earlier this spring. The quarterly awards provide $250 microgrants to young artists in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park, as well as all students attending Detroit Public Schools. The organizations will distribute $10,000 to young creatives each quarter, and eligible young people aged 11- to 19-years-old are encouraged to apply each funding round.

Visit Connect Detroit online to learn more about the application process for the Launch Awards.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.