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Detroit's Mosaic Youth Theatre gets $500,000 prize

Detroit-based collective We Are Culture Creators also won $25,000

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

One of the city's most prominent cultural institutions for young people, the Mosaic Youth Theatre has been named one of four Accelerator Awardees of the Lewis Prize for Music. 

The group and its director, DeLashea Strawder, will use the $500,000 grant to expand access and transportation support for the program as well as "offer increased mentorship and training by professional artists." 

Mosaic Youth Theatre members Makayla Hewins, Aj'ziona Campbell-Kelly, Cayla Sims, Jenia Head and Rayven Davis rehearse for "Now That I Can Dance - Motown 1962" in 2019.

Founded in 2018 by philanthropist Daniel R. Lewis, the Lewis Prize for Music aims to enrich young people's access to music learning and creative opportunities for performing and expressing themselves.

“I am inspired by these leaders and organizations for all they do to put music at the center of young people’s personal development,” says Lewis, founder and chairmanin a press release about the prizes. “Our awardees and the entire Creative Youth Development field have expanded their efforts amidst the challenges of 2020 to meet the creative, material, and well being needs of young people and families. To recognize this unique impact and dedication, we have chosen to expand to four Accelerator Awards.”

Along with Detroit's Mosaic, other $500,000 Accelerator Awardees include Boston's Hyde Square Task Force, Philadelphia's Beyond the Bars student-driven career skills program and artist collective the St. Louis Story Stitchers. 

Smaller prizes were also given, including the $25,000 Catalyst Awardee, bestowed this year to We Are Culture Creators, a Detroit-based media arts collective and label that features young talent. The group was also the recipient of the Lewis Prize Infusion Award in 2020.

Twitter: @melodybaetens