Kiff Gallagher, the founder of the nonprofit Music National Service, recently helped launch MusicianCorps, a pilot program that provides musicians stipends to play in schools and hospitals and do other service work. The program is based in The City, but has programs in Chicago, New Orleans and Seattle.
What is MusicianCorps? We call it a musical Peace Corps. We recruit, train and place musicians into institutional and community settings where they can use the power of music to reach, teach or heal.
How was it conceived? It’s really a fusion of my personal and professional experiences. I think it came naturally. I’d served on the team that helped create AmeriCorps in the early ’90s and later was a singer-songwriter myself. I later combined the two and I realized music has far greater value than entertainment alone.
Do you plan to expand to other cities? Absolutely. There’s been a lot of demand for our programs and inquiries around the country, but we want to grow smart. We need to make sure we have the national institutional capacity, and make sure we have effective evaluation, training and support for these artists and the institutions where they serve.
How are you funded? We have funding from private foundations [and] we have public funding from cities and the federal government. The Hewlett Foundation has provided us with our largest grant. They gave us a half a million dollars at the start.