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CSA Scholarships, Competitions and Grants

Since the scholarship program was started in 1993, over $85,000 has been raised and more than 650 area children have received financial aid to pursue their study of the arts. The scholarship program is funded mainly through fundraising activities, such as the Performathon, Barnes and Noble Recital and Book Fair, and other benefit recitals.

Other contributors to the fund include many private donors, Target Stores, the Mary E. Stevens Fund, the DeKalb County Community Foundation, and AG Communication Systems. Consider making a contribution to the fund. Your donation is tax deductible.  

Mission Statement

As a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education, the NIU Community School of the Arts is committed to making arts education accessible to all. The mission of the community school is to promote artistic growth among all people in the community. The school encourages lifelong involvement in the arts and to this end, provides a place where students at all levels of ability can come together to experience the arts, regardless of the ability to pay.  

Need Scholarships

The NIU Community School of the Arts’ need scholarship program provides financial assistance to students 18 years old and younger who are interested in arts instruction - either private lessons, classes, or ensembles - but who are unable to pay the full fee. Partial scholarships are allocated by the scholarship advisory board on the basis of need, demonstrated interest, and available funds. Scholarships are awarded in fall and spring only.

Application forms must be completed and returned to the office at the beginning of fall and spring semesters. Deadlines can be found on the CSA calendar. Announcements of awards will be made within one week of the application deadline. Those applying for financial assistance should send the registration fee only ($15) with their form; billing arrangements will be made later.

Those applying for need scholarships must provide requested financial information and a recommendation from a teacher (if possible, by a music teacher). Applications lacking either of these are not considered complete and will not be considered by the scholarship committee.

Talent Scholarships for Young Musicians

Each year, the program awards six scholarships worth $250 to talented musicians who demonstrate during an audition a high level of skill and musicianship. The scholarships are awarded to two students in each of the following grade categories: Elementary (grades 3 - 5), Junior (grades 6 - 8), and Senior (grades 9 - 12). All instruments are welcome. Applicants must be current students in the community school, either studying privately or enrolled in an ensemble. Applicants who take lessons on two instruments may audition on both, but are expected to submit two application forms and pay the application fee twice.

  • Interested applicants should submit an application form to the office.
  • All applicants will be required to attend an audition.
  • Honor's Recital - all of the six talent scholarship winners perform in the annual Honor's Recital in the music building.
  • Note - those awarded scholarships may not compete for two years (two full cycles) after receiving the award.
  • Dates and deadlines can be found on the CSA calendar.

CSA Sinfonia Concerto Competition

This competition is for musicians who are 18 years old or younger and who live within a 75-mile radius of DeKalb. Players are expected to perform one memorized movement of a standard concerto or work with orchestral accompaniment. Competitors need not be members of CSA Sinfonia. Winners may not compete again on the same instrument. The winner receives a prize of $200 and performs the concerto with the orchestra at the May concert. Interested applicants should submit an application form to the office. Deadlines are on the CSA calendar.

Dekalb County Community Foundation: Farny R. Wurlitzer Grant

In November of 2015, the NIU Community School of the Arts was awarded a $5000 grant from the Dekalb County Community Foundation's Farny R. Wurlitzer Fund. This grant will assist with the funding of need-based scholarships for student's enrolling in CSA lessons, classes and ensembles. It is through this type of collaboration with our partners that the CSA is able to continue to make a difference in our community and we cannot thank them enough.

National Endowment for the Arts Grants

The community school received grants in 2011, 2012, and 2013 from the National Endowment for the Arts in the Arts Education in American Communities program. This is an invitational grant for $10,000 with a $10,000 matching grant from NIU. This grant program supports the work of the community school by helping bring talented artists and teachers to DeKalb to enrich the lives of people in the community.

2013 - 2014 Events

  • Mime Residency/Suzuki Workshop
  • Anat Cohen Residency/Clarinet Cornucopia
  • Nick Page Residency/CSA Children's Choir

2012-2013 Events

  • Susan Reed Concert/Suzuki Workshop
  • William and Catherine Hudgins Residency/Clarinet Cornucopia
  • Lee Kesselman Residency/CSA Children's Choir

2011-2012 Events

  • Anthony Devroye Residency, CSA Sinfonia
  • Elisa and Amy Barston Residency, CSA Suzuki Program and Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra
  • Emily Ellsworth Residency, CSA Children's Choir
  • Tim Blickhan Composition, CSA Children's Choir
  • Burt Hara Residency, Clarinet Cornucopia