Maryville University has selected L.I.F.E. Arts (Leadership, Innovation, Faith, Excellence), an organization founded by soul singer, songwriter, producer and community advocate Brian Owens, as the recipient of a $100,000 grant that will be awarded over the next two years.
“Maryville is honored to support L.I.F.E. Arts and the amazing work the organization will do now and in the future,” said Mark Lombardi, PhD, president of Maryville University. “There is no better way to make a profound difference in St. Louis than to invest in the educational opportunities of our youth.”
The partnership between L.I.F.E. Arts and Maryville University will enable various initiatives of the organization to come to life, including Compositions For L.I.F.E Therapeutic Songwriting. The songwriting program fosters positive expression through music for junior high students whose daily experiences include a range of traumas involving poverty and violence.
The grant will also support one undergraduate fellowship or graduate assistantship for a minority music therapy student as well as enable L.I.F.E. to pilot and implement an E Sports For Life program.
Launched by Owens in 2014 in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting, L.I.F.E. Arts is dedicated to helping develop leadership skills through the arts. Each year, the foundation serves between 70 to 100 high school and college students in Owens’ hometown of Ferguson, Missouri, and from across the St. Louis metropolitan area.
“I am humbled and overwhelmed by God’s favor and the generous commitment of Maryville,” Owens said. “The University has been a valuable partner since our beginning. We look forward to the continued development of our relationship as we partner in service to the students and families in North County and our region at large.”
Previously, Owens partnered with Maryville University, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Sterling Bank for the Life Songs Project. Through Life Songs, Maryville’s music therapy students helped middle school students express their feelings through original songs.