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Home > About > News and Events > News > Member News > First Lady Honors Sphinx at White House

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First Lady Honors Sphinx at White House

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Nov 15, 2016

On Tuesday, November 15, during a ceremony at the White House, Sphinx Overture (Detroit, MI) was awarded a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. The NAHYP Award is the Nation’s highest honor for creative youth development programs – out-of-school arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, particularly those from underserved communities.

Recipients receive a $10,000 grant and the opportunity to visit the White House and accept the award from First Lady Michelle Obama. Awardees also receive a full year of capacity-building and communications support, designed to make their organizations stronger.

A Sphinx quartet was chosen to close the ceremony with a performance which the First Lady pronounced "phenomenal!" After the performance, Mrs. Obama joined the young musicians on stage and shared her reaction: "This is why we do what we do...There are millions of kids like this in this country, who do not have the resources to become everything that they could be...Fortunately, these programs [like Sphinx] are doing the job that sometimes the bigger society fails to do."

According to NAHYP, “the Sphinx Overture program offers free violins and group instruction to students ages 7 to 10, using the Suzuki Method, over the course of 30 weeks. The program’s goals are to increase the participants’ musical and performance abilities; their connection to classical music, as well as to the history and theory of music; plus their academic achievement. In fact, Sphinx created the program in 2006 to accommodate students’ interest and to bridge the gap between opportunities already available to intermediate students and the lack thereof for youngsters in these communities.”

“We hope this award will draw attention to the fact that access to the arts is essential in the lives of our young people and in our communities as a whole,” said Afa Dworkin, president and artistic director of the Sphinx Organization. “We’re incredibly honored by this distinction. At a time that is so divisive and turbulent, our young artists symbolize promise, compassion and achievement. They are empowered to change the narrative in our communities as well as our field.”

Read more about Sphinx Overture and this remarkable honor here.

About Sphinx Overture

The Sphinx Overture program delivers access to music education in Detroit and Flint, Michigan. The Sphinx Organization is proud to partner with select Detroit and Flint public schools and offer free beginning group violin lessons. Enrollment is free and no instrument purchase or rental is required. Sphinx provides instruments and materials to all students.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.