PRIZM forges equitable relationships with youth and leadership in underserved communities though their music educational programming and community collaborations. PRIZM shares the belief that every child, regardless of gender, race, religion, or socioeconomic status deserves access to exceptional and high-quality musical programs. With a strong commitment to youth education, they are constantly seeking ways to enrich the lives of your children and others within the community.
PRIZM Ensemble’s story begins in 2005, when PRIZM’s founders Lecolion and Carina Washington saw a local need for a performing and touring ensemble. PRIZM Ensemble was established, and several successful area concerts were hosted.
In 2009, the PRIZM Music Camp & International Chamber Music Festival was launched, and PRIZM started using the power of musical excellence to teach life skills to our city’s youth. This program also created opportunities for diverse musicians, who served as faculty, as impromptu mentors, and as artists, featured at each nightly performance. In 2017-2018 they have over 45 camp scholarships awarded.
In 2013, PRIZM in the Schools was rolled out. PRIZM partners with schools to lead an after-school music mentoring program. Select students from these programs can receive a scholarship to attend the PRIZM festival, and can thereby perform all through the year at their concerts. In 2017- 2018 they had 33 schools involved in this program.
In 2015, they piloted the OMusic Project, serving the children in the historic Orange Mound neighborhood, an underserved and predominantly African American community. The project provides music instruction in an after-school setting, in collaboration with Orange Mound Outreach Ministries and Visible Community Music School.
Today, they have over 40 local Memphis school partners, partners like Ballet on Wheels, Clayborn Temple and Opera Memphis, supportive funders and a community that values diversity, access and opportunity.