Los Angeles, CA
Grant Cycle:
Type of Grant:
General Operating Support
Music, Social Practice

Street Symphony envisions a world where diverse communities practice empathy and build relationships. Our mission is to harness the power of music to cultivate transformative connections and relationships. Street Symphony specifically engages communities affected by homelessness and incarceration in the Skid Row community of downtown Los Angeles through powerful musical events and workshops.
Founded in 2011 by violinist and MacArthur Fellow Vijay Gupta, Street Symphony has presented 1400 musical performances in 12 years of programming, reaching 13,000 people affected by homelessness, incarceration, and poverty in LA. Street Symphony has also impacted a generation of classical musicians dedicated to serving marginalized communities. Street Symphony events are participatory, inviting dialogue, stories, and musical engagement with audiences.
Street Symphony programs include monthly concerts at partner facilities with audiences ranging between 25-100 people; a public concert series that convenes
members of the Skid Row community and the LA community at large, music workshops for smaller groups, which create opportunities for a deeper level of engagement; and a concert series in LA County Jails and California state prisons. All programs are interconnected and dedicated to providing access to world-class musical experiences by classical and choral musicians from ensembles such as the LA Philharmonic and Master Chorale.
Outreach is facilitated through Street Symphony teaching artists who have developed close relationships with partner facilities and have successfully hosted/led workshops of this nature for several years now. Since the barriers to access within the Skid Row community are incredibly challenging, Street Symphony relies on robust relationships with partner organizations that engage social and case workers to announce the
schedule of activities with participants. Street Symphony also engages other community arts partners, namely the Skid Row Arts Alliance (a newly formed consortium of Skid Row arts organizations), to share program and activity information. Marketing and outreach are also conducted through our newsletter as well as social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Street Symphony serves the community of Skid Row, the largest concentration of people affected by chronic homelessness in the U.S. today. A viciously contended and segregated part of the city, Skid Row is home to nearly 60,000 individuals affected by chronic homelessness, with thousands living in tents on the streets of downtown Los Angeles. People in Skid Row are preyed upon by open drug trade and crime, and people experiencing substance abuse or mental health challenges often face the revolving door of mass incarceration. Street Symphony aims to continue engaging with these communities on a regular basis, presenting 30-40 free musical programs in Skid Row each year.
Programmatic success is gauged by following through on agreements and protocols initiated by Street Symphony and partner organizations to create safe, authentic, and equitable spaces for participants: in artistic engagement, success is a felt experience of enthusiastic connection and engagement.
Street Symphony’s impact will also be measured qualitatively through interviews. Street Symphony works with videographers to hold interviews, capture testimonials, and document project impact on participants, Street Symphony teaching artists and musicians, and audience members. This footage will be knit together into a short film documentary series for Street Symphony’s YouTube page.