Schenectady, NY - Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO) announced today a grant award totaling $3.5 million from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) to support the organization’s new building project, the ESYO Center for Musical Youth. This grant is part of a record large capital project funding announcement by NYSCA, which totals over $90.5 million distributed to 19 projects across New York State.
"We are so thrilled and thankful that New York State Council of the Arts selected our project for funding. We know this facility is critical for the future of youth music in our region, but to have earned such a magnificent vote of confidence from the public sector is truly amazing." said Rebecca Calos, ESYO Executive Director. Combined with an initial $1.5M seed contribution from the Schenectady County Legislature and gifts from local funders including Fenimore Asset Management, M&T Charitable Foundation and the Carlilian Foundation, ESYO is a third of the way to its $15M goal. "We are turning to the community to help make this project a reality," said Calos, "In light of the nation's youth mental health crisis, what better way to provide our youth the support they need than to build a dynamic music campus designed especially for them. Youth will be able to explore their creative voice, make life-long friends, and forge incredible connections with other artists throughout the region, the nation, and the world."
The Center for Musical Youth will foster creative collaboration and musical discovery, with acoustically designed spaces that invite innovation and inspire joyful music-making. It will be the only one of its kind in upstate New York. For the first time in ESYO’s 43-year history, young musicians will be able to rehearse together at one location, building a vibrant youth musical community. Youth will be able to arrive early and stay late, gathering with friends to “jam,” form student-led chamber groups, make a recording, use a practice room, or study music scores. When completed, it will be a creative maker-space for young musicians and a place where music, technology, and community come together under one roof. The 8-acre property will also onboard an additional 24,000 square feet of space dedicated to the performing arts and serve as a catalyst for collaboration with the community. To learn more about the Center for Musical Youth, click here.
NYSCA Executive Director Mara Manus said, “We are immensely grateful to Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature for this historic level of capital grantmaking. These critical investments will support visionary expansions, essential facility improvements, and community-building strategies that will promote health, safety, and accessibility. We commend ESYO for their bold and inspirational project that will deliver the measurable benefits of the arts to New Yorkers and our visitors for generations to come."