Sinfonia Gulf Coast Receives National Endowment for the Arts Grant

December 11, 2014 by SoWal Staff

Sinfonia Gulf Coast is one of only 163 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Challenge America grant. Sinfonia Gulf Coast is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support its January 23, 2015 performance of the world premiere of American composer Nico Muhly's electric violin concerto "Seeing is Believing," featuring award-winning electric violinist Tracy Silverman.   

The performance will also include two special morning concerts for more than 2,000, third - eighth grade students in Okaloosa and Walton Counties. This announcement marks the third NEA Challenge America Grant for the organization since 2010. The previous grants supported concert and education initiatives featured American violinist Nicolas Kendall and author/director Jamie Bernstein in the "Bernstein Beat," which highlighted the music of her late father conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein.

The Challenge America Fast-Track category offers $10,000 matching grants to support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. This year, the NEA received 347 eligible Challenge America applications and will award 163 grants for a total of $1.63 million.
Sinfonia Board President Jennifer Howard stated, "This grant award from our Nation's capital is a true testament to the work that Sinfonia Gulf Coast is doing throughout our community. The Sinfonia Board of Directors, Music Director Demetrius Fuller, staff, and our talented musicians and guest artists are making a difference with the musical and cultural offerings that we bring to the region. Music education remains at the forefront of Sinfonia's mission and we are honored to receive this continued NEA funding to expand our work in Okaloosa and Walton Counties."
NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, "I'm pleased to be able to share the news of our support through Challenge America including the award to Sinfonia Gulf Coast. The arts foster value, connection, creativity and innovation for the American people and these recommended grants demonstrate those attributes and affirm that the arts are part of our everyday lives." 
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Challenge America support, please visit the NEA website at Follow the conversation about this and other NEA-funded projects on Twitter at #NEAFall2014. For more information, please go to or call (850) 269-7229.
Sinfonia Gulf Coast was founded in 2005 on Florida's Northwest Gulf Coast with the mission of redefining the symphony experience. Under the guidance of Music Director and Founder Demetrius Fuller and a dedicated board of directors, the nonprofit orchestra is entering its ninth season of innovative musical programming, designed to entertain, educate and inspire the community. 
Since it's founding, Sinfonia Gulf Coast has presented more than 400 concerts and events, has collaborated with numerous nonprofits and businesses throughout the community and has reached more than 47,000 children through its Sinfonia Guest Artists in the Schools program/music education outreach initiatives. More than 800 families have benefited from Sinfonia's Students4FREE program, which provides complimentary tickets to live orchestral performances and musical events.   

Sinfonia also supports a sixty member youth orchestra program, led by Music Director Liz Aylor and maintains a partnership with Carnegie Hall's Weill Institute of Music with the Link Up program for third through fifth graders. Sinfonia Gulf Coast is also a proud collaborator throughout the Northwest Florida community and continues its partnership with Sacred Heart Hospital along the Emerald Coast in their Arts in Medicine program.

For more information on Sinfonia Gulf Coast, please visit, call (850) 269-7229 or e-mail  



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