CFSA Announces $50,000 in Funding for the Arts

The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona is excited to announce that $50,000 in funding has been awarded to nonprofit arts organizations and emerging artists this spring.

This includes $20,000 through CFSA’s Endowment for the Arts Fund, $20,000 through the Igor Gorin Memorial Award, and an additional $10,000 to the Tucson Girls Chorus through CFSA’s Fillman Gorin Fund.


Endowment for the Arts Fund

CFSA has supported the arts since its founding in 1980. As one of only 7 community foundations to receive a 2:1 challenge grant in 1986 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), CFSA embraced the opportunity to establish the Endowment for the Arts Fund to support the work of small- and medium-sized arts organizations based in rural communities. Since 1987, 364 unrestricted operating grants have been distributed totaling $616,390.

The 2022 Endowment for the Arts grant round awarded funding to two rural nonprofits: Ajo Council for the Fine Arts, located in Ajo, AZ, and Central School Project, located in Bisbee, AZ.

The mission of Ajo Council for the Fine Arts is to bring performing, visual, educational, and entertaining art activities to Ajo and western Pima County, to provide a venue for local artists to sell their work, and to promote art education in Western Pima County.

Cheryl Langer with Ajo Council for the Fine Arts shared, “The CSFA Endowment for the Arts funding affords the Ajo Council for the Fine Arts the capability to develop community art educational programs and continue to support Ajo’s diverse artist community by providing a venue to exhibit their art.”

Founded in 1985, Central School Project’s three-fold mission is to provide affordable studio space to artists; historically preserve the 1905 facility; and foster appreciation for the arts in their community. This includes delivering arts learning and art exposure opportunities at no or low cost for a multigenerational, low-income, and diverse public.

Laurie McKenna, Director of Central School Project, shared, “With the support of CFSA’s Endowment for the Arts Funding, Central School Project is expanding our reach, our arts programming, and creating more opportunities for our community in the year 2023!”


2022 Igor Gorin Memorial Award

The 2022 recipients of the Igor Gorin Memorial Award are vocalists Emily Blair and Simone McIntosh. The Igor Gorin Memorial Award was established in 1987 by Mary Gorin as a fitting way to honor the memory of her husband, Igor Gorin, a world-renowned opera singer. Since 1993, the Igor Gorin Memorial Award has awarded $358,000 to support young vocalists at the start of their operatic careers.

This unrestricted award is given out once a year to help gifted vocalists poised to begin successful careers with expenses associated with accompanists, coaches, and auditioning as they transition from school into professional careers.

Emily Blair is a versatile and engaging young artist originally from Chicago, Illinois. She joined the prestigious Merola Opera Program for the 2021 season and was previously a Benenson Young Artist at Palm Beach Opera for two seasons. Emily is a graduate of Mannes College of Music in The New School, and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

When asked how she envisions giving back to the performing arts community, Emily shared that she leads yoga classes designed for performers and is developing a course to support performers’ mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. She stated, “Through healing ourselves and building a deep connection to our inner artist, we can share that with the world and deepen the profound impact of music.”

Simone McIntosh is an accomplished young artist originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, and currently residing in Paris, France. She was an Adler Fellow for the prestigious San Francisco Opera, an ensemble artist for the Canadian Opera Company, and an artist in the renowned Merola Opera Program. Simone is a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a BMus in Opera, and of the McGill Schulich School of Music with an MMus Voice.

In reflecting on her goals as a performing artist, Simone shared, “My goals are to strive for excellence and beauty in my music-making, not perfection. I want to let the music lead me to fulfilling places physically, mentally, and emotionally. I wish to provide space for audiences to experience and reflect on what beauty means to them.”


Fillman Gorin Fund

The Fillman Gorin Fund, which provides funding to the Igor Gorin Memorial Award Fund, also provided funding to the Tucson Girls Chorus this spring. The mission of the Tucson Girls Chorus is to prepare a diverse group of young women to be confident leaders through participation in a well-constructed educational program that emphasizes music, performance, leadership training, and community service.

Dr. Marcela Molina, Director of Tucson Girls Chorus, shared, “Receiving funding from the Fillman Gorin Fund is so meaningful to the TGC. They have expressed tremendous understanding of the importance of music and its power. This unrestricted gift will allow us to continue our mission to serve youth, regardless of location, background, and abilities, to access the power of communal singing and the sense of belonging every child deserves to experience.”