RYSE receives $500K Lewis Prize for Music Accelerator Award

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RYSE receives $500K Lewis Prize for Music Accelerator Award
The RYSE Youth Center at Bissell Avenue and 41st Street. (Photo by Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

Richmond’s RYSE Youth Center has been named a recipient of The Lewis Prize for Music’s 2022 Accelerator Award. RYSE joins three fellow recipients of the $500,000 awards, which are given to organizations nationwide that are creating positive change through music programs for youth.

RYSE’s Media, Arts & Culture department, which is aligned with the Accelerator Awards’ mission, empowers youth to express themselves through artistic expression “to promote personal healing and dismantle an often dismissive narrative about young people,” according to The Lewis Prize for Music. Located at 3939 Bissell Ave. in Richmond, RYSE is on the cusp of opening RYSE Commons in spring 2022, a 45,000 sq. ft. youth-designed campus for music, arts, culture and healing, per its website.

Under the guidance of founders Kimberly Aceves-Iñiguez (executive director) and Kanwarpal Dhaliwal (associate director), RYSE serves more than 700 youth annually between the ages of 13 and 21. Of those youth, 98 percent are people of color and originate from at-risk backgrounds. The organization looks to create “safe spaces made for and led by West Contra Costa youth,” according to award info.

Dalouge Smith, CEO of The Lewis Prize for Music, said that its 2022 Accelerator Awardees, and countless creative youth development organizations across the country, “are creating spaces for young people to develop artistry and leadership that strengthens themselves and their communities.”

The other 2022 Accelerator Award honorees joining RYSE include: We Are Culture Creators, Detroit, MI; The Heartbeat Music Project, Crownpoint, NM; and INTEMPO, Stanford, CT. RYSE fulfilled the promise of it name by “rising above” hundreds of nationwide submissions to be recognized as one of this year’s prevailing four awardees.

The Lewis Prize for Music was founded by Daniel R. Lewis in 2018 as a philanthropic music arts organization advancing systems change through creative youth development. Learn more about its 2022 Accelerator Awards and recipients here.