By Kathy Chouteau
Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy in San Pablo has been awarded The Lewis Prize for Music’s $50,000 Catalyst Award. The award aims to empower youth and their communities through music.
As a 2023 Catalyst Award Winner, Los Cenzontles will join a total of nine nationwide winners of The Lewis Prize for Music’s broader fourth annual Accelerator Awards, which is dispersing nearly $2 million in funding this year in three categories. The categories include: Accelerator Awardees ($500,000), Infusion Awardees ($75,000) and Catalyst Awardees ($50,000).
This year’s winners include Accelerator Awardees the Memphis Music Initiative, Memphis; Hip Hop Into Learning, Louisville; and Mana Maoli, Honolulu. Infusion Awardees are the West Point School of Music, Chicago; HEAL Center for the Arts, St. Louis; and The Bridge Music Project, Olympia. And along with Los Cenzontles, the Catalyst Award winners are El Sistema Santa Cruz/Pajaro Valley and Rock to the Future of Philadelphia.
The awards invest in “high-performers who reach beyond their individual programs, to collaborate with other leaders toward meaningful and real change,” according to a statement from The Lewis Prize for Music. Past recipients have used their awards to expand their program offerings, hire additional staff, provide training and mentorship and establish youth music and technology centers for their communities, according to the organization.
For nearly 35 years, Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy has operated as a cultural arts academy, a band, a production studio, and a community space for youth and families who are working collaboratively to amplify Mexican roots in the Bay Area and beyond, according to the organization. Learn more about Los Cenzontles here.
For its part, The Lewis Prize for Music sees music as a “catalytic force to drive positive change in our society” by young people. According to the organization, it links up with “leaders in diverse and vibrant communities who invest in young people by providing access to safe, inclusive spaces where they can build powerful relationships through music.” The organization was founded by Daniel R. Lewis.