1004881152 Jenifer Carstensen.jpg
Jenifer Carstensen leads a group of Link Up students in a song, accompanying them on the guitar. Rogue Valley Symphony's elementary school program is featured on America's arts network, Ovation. (Cari Baker Photography)

This Ovation worth $10K to Rogue Valley Symphony

A result of a little luck, a lot of hard work, and a robust education program, the Rogue Valley Symphony (RVS) has been recognized as one of the country’s outstanding arts organizations by Ovation, America’s only arts television network.

Ovation recently announced partnerships with two Oregon arts entities — the RVS and the BendFilm Festival. It’s part of its mission to shine a spotlight on the places and people who elevate and enrich their communities through the arts.

As part of the partnership, Ovation has created custom public service announcements (PSAs) for RVS, currently airing on Ovation TV as well as on its digital “Arts Across the Heartland” platform.

The little bit of luck part came when Ovation officials went to Washington D.C. this spring on an advocacy tour and met with Oregon Congressman Greg Walden.

“They asked him if there was an arts organization in his district he would recommend to them and he recommended us,” said Joelle Graves, executive director of RVS.

They looked at the symphony’s social media and other materials and liked what they saw.

Ovation invites visitors to its website to sign up for free subscriptions to its arts news service. For each subscription, Ovation donates $1 to the arts.

There were so many clicks on its website generated by the PSA they created for RVS, Ovation decided to donate $10,000 to the organization.

“They want us to use the gift for our concert productions,” Graves said. “They mailed the check last week, so it should be arriving any day.”

The symphony’s PSA also runs on Ovation TV in rotation with PSAs from nine other arts organizations across the country.

RVS was chosen largely based on Link Up, its elementary school education program provided at no charge for the Phoenix/Talent School District.

Link Up is a three-year music education program provided free of charge by Carnegie Hall. Locally it is also supported by grants and sponsors. The curriculum is designed for third through fifth graders, teaching music through singing in the third grade and playing recorders in the fourth and fifth grades.

RVS provides the recorders and Link Up teaching staff. Teacher guides, music, and student books are provided by Carnegie Hall’s Andrew Weil Institute.

Graves formerly worked for the Britt Festival. She was honored by the Kennedy Center for the education work she was doing for Britt at that time. Learning of her work, Ovation invited Graves to go with them to Washington D.C. to help advocate for the arts.

She met with them this summer in Los Angeles where she learned they plan to come to the Rogue Valley to shoot a documentary.

“So, it is quite the partnership we are building with them, and it’s such an honor,” she said.

To learn more about Ovation and to view the RVS video, go to artsacrosstheheartland.com.

Jim Flint is a retired newspaper editor and publisher living in Ashland.

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