Skidmore College receives $50,000 for Zankel Music Center: The Office of the Dean of Special Programs to use funding to bring youths to concerts and events

Posted by Julia Leef

Beginning next fall, local youths will have the opportunity to attend concerts and programs at the Arthur Zankel Music Center free of charge, as a result of the recent $50,000 grant given to the College by the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust.

 The grant will provide free admission to Zankel Music Center activities for children ages 6 to 18 as part of the newly established Alfred Z. Solomon Community Fund for Children, Youth and the Arts, which the Office of the Dean of Special Programs will direct. As part of the program, the College will work with local schools to engage younger listeners in various events at the Zankel Music Center.

 "This really gives us a chance to reach out to people and bring them in," said Michelle Curran, concerts and events manager at the Zankel Music Center. "It's very exciting to have this kind of opportunity to reach the [youth], our next generation of audiences. We might not have been able to do this without the grant."

 The initial $50,000 is intended as an endowment only; the College will only spend the annual accumulated interest - about 5 percent, or $2,500. While many programs at the Zankel Music Center offer free concerts and lectures, the Solomon grant is specifically directed at bringing younger audiences free-of-charge to the approximately 20 concerts a year that charge in order to cover costs. These youth groups also will be able to attend master classes and performances by guest artists for free -- events that usually charge admission.

 "Most of the other grants that pay for events at Zankel basically just pay for the performers and the artist," said Paul Calhoun, interim dean of the Office of the Dean of Special Programs. "This is the only one that's targeted to a specific audience group."

 The Solomons, a local family, also have funded the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery in the past. Curran, who started working at the College six months ago, is responsible for spending the money. The Office of the Dean of Special Programs will put together a plan by June to share with the Solomon family that will address events and special issues, such as providing transportation for local schools.

 "We'll identify specific events that we think are particularly suited to this [opportunity], as well as schools or youth organizations, and market to those students or school administrators to get them here," Calhoun said. "We're very grateful. It's not clear that we would have been able to do this outreach without the grant. It's important for Zankel because Zankel was built in part to serve the broad community, not just Skidmore."

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