July 20, 2021, Columbus, Georgia — The Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus (YOGC) was awarded grants by Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA), a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, as part of its initial disbursement of grants for the 2022 fiscal year. A total of 218 organizations were awarded 266 grants that provide more than $2 million in funding to arts organizations throughout the state. These grants are awarded every year through a highly competitive peer-review process.

YOGC was awarded not one but two grants from GCA for the 21-22 season, a $6,000 Project Grant for the 2022 Summer String Camp and a $5,000 Arts Education Grant for the Whitewater Music Festival. YOGC has received the Project Grant for its Summer String Camp for almost 20 years. The Summer String Camp is the only local summer camp for string players in the region. The camp, held every June, focuses on non-classical genres of music and how to learn music by ear. It plays a vital role in helping local school-aged musicians access professional music education experiences during the summer. The Arts Education Grant will allow YOGC to expand its Whitewater Orchestra Festival into the Whitewater Music Festival, adding a second day that focuses on local school band programs. The Whitewater Music Festival is an outreach program designed to support and serve local public school band and orchestra programs at no cost to the school system.

“Professionals from all over the state of Georgia rated YOGC’s programs as some of the best in the state and deserving of state arts funding. YOGC is grateful to be one of several local arts organizations that receive funding from GCA and applaud the amazing work Columbus’ arts industry does to make our city special. YOGC is proud to have been providing vital and valuable music education experiences to our community’s children for almost 30 years, including throughout the entire pandemic. We look forward to the opportunities this funding provides for the upcoming season.” – Stephanie Payne, Executive Director, YOGC.

 “As we emerge from this past year’s quarantine, the arts sector is vital to restarting the economy by attracting tourists, assisting with classroom learning, and igniting events to bring communities back together,” said GCA Executive Director Tina Lilly. “The 266 grants we have awarded will help cities and organizations leverage additional funds and bring people back to work while providing fun and educational opportunities for Georgians across the state.”

Since 1993, the Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus has been teaching the area’s most talented young musicians. Led by nationally-awarded Music Director and Conductor Jim Palmer, YOGC maintains the only symphonic orchestral opportunity in the region for children; a string orchestra; a chamber group program; a non-adjudicated music festival provided at no cost to local public school music programs; and a week-long summer string camp focused on alternative genres of music and playing styles. For additional information e-mail info@yogc.org.