GROW YOUR ROOTS 2020

Who We Are

The Front Porch is a non-profit roots music school that educates and promotes music across a variety of techniques and styles. Our teaching artists offer private and group lessons in acoustic blues, folk, old time, bluegrass, classical, and traditional world music. We host an eclectic array of performances, workshops, dance opportunities, and weekly jams.

The Front Porch offers high-quality music education experiences, coupled with opportunities to practice and share music and dance in community settings. As a non-profit organization, The Front Porch strives to be inclusive, affordable, and accessible to all.

The Front Porch was founded with the strong belief that music is a universal language that brings people together. It is a bridge between our past and our future. It allows us to express ourselves creatively and to connect with others.

ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE

Educated more than 350 students through lessons, workshops, and jams.

Involved over 2,500 people in concerts, potlucks, sing-a-longs, and dances.

Partnered with local non-profits to promote the arts.

Partners have included:
– James Monroe’s Highland
– Prism Coffeehouse
– The Virginia Folklife Program
– Blue Ridge Irish Music School
– MIMA

Reached new audiences through spring block party celebrations and summer concerts at James Monroe’s Highland.

Collaborated with local services to provide music education and volunteer opportunities to underserved populations.

Partners have included:
– International Neighbors
– Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Virginia
– Boys and Girls Club of Charlottesville

Provided student scholarships with grant assistance from:
– BamaWorks Fund of the Dave Matthews Band
– J&E Berkley Foundation
– The Madwoman Project
– Charlottesville Albemarle Community Foundation
– Louise Bedichek Foundation

Made major facility upgrades with assistance from:
– Martin Horn Construction
– Hilltop Foundation
– Perry Foundation
– Other anonymous organizations

Our Plan

2018 represents the beginning of the next stage in the evolution and growth of The Front Porch. Over the past three years, The Front Porch has evolved from an idea to reality, hosted first in the Morrison family home and then at a local school before putting down roots on the downtown mall in 2016. The renovation of the old Michie Theater space, made possible by a host of local champions, has resulted in a beautiful, light-filled space that welcomes students, teachers, performers, and concertgoers.

From the first lessons and jams to packed dances and sold-out concerts, the story has been the community’s response to The Front Porch opening its doors. People have been drawn to our mission, which encapsulates an opportunity for creative exploration, personal growth and community connection. In turn, new energy and ideas are helping to drive The Front Porch forward, leading to new partnerships and possibilities such as innovative workshops with visiting artists and immersive opportunities to study and play together.

Over the next three years, The Front Porch will continue to grow its roots, building on this strong, community-based foundation. Grow Your Roots 2020 calls for a greater investment in our programs to make sure that everyone in the greater Charlottesville area has the opportunity to pursue their musical interests and be a part of this vibrant community. The arts – and arts education – are a vital part of what makes Charlottesville such a special place.

Our Mission

The Front Porch is dedicated to bringing people from all walks of life together through music. The Front Porch fosters creativity and cultural exchange through music education, community outreach, and performance.

Our Values

COMMUNITY.
The Front Porch is a place where people can come together as part of a shared, ongoing artistic and cultural dialogue.

OPENNESS AND CURIOSITY.
The Front Porch sustains a shared space where new ideas and possibilities circulate widely and freely.ACCESS AND INCLUSION.The Front Porch provides a broad range of programs that are free and open to the public. Our scholarship program ensures that everyone can participate, regardless of their ability to pay.

WE CONTAIN MULTITUDES – PLURALITY AND DIVERSITY.
The Front Porch draws strength from community members’ wide-ranging interests and backgrounds and seeks to reflect diversity broadly.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND ORGANIZATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY.
The Front Porch is committed to paying teaching artists a living wage, and to making sure that the people who work at The Front Porch are respected, appreciated, and well compensated for their work.

Our Vision

A vibrant, welcoming arts environment where people of all ages come together to expand their creative horizons and make the world a better and more peaceful place.

2020 Priorities

1. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND OUTREACH
Over the next three years, The Front Porch’s students, teachers, audience members, and volunteers will focus their energies on sustaining high-quality music education programming, coupled with opportunities to gather, practice, and share in a community setting.

  • Doubling the total number of students participating in classes by the end of 2020.
  • Providing new and updated programming, with a focus on pilot-testing classes and workshops.
  • Assessing programming regularly and thoroughly.
  • Updating organizational operating procedures.

2. ACCESSIBILITY AND INCLUSION
The Front Porch strives to ensure that all constituents – Our Board of Directors, the student body, performance audiences, and event participants – reflect Charlottesville’s diverse interests, socioeconomic backgrounds, life experiences, and cultural heritage. We will prioritize opportunities to address challenges that limit people’s access to the school’s programs and activities, including transportation, financial capacity, and equipment needs.

  • Building and strengthening partnerships with organizations such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Virginia and International Neighbors to provide programming to underserved groups.
  • Expanding no-cost and low-cost program offerings.
  • Ensuring broad focus on the cultural heritage and diversity of student and audience life experiences as part of programming.
  • Refining The Front Porch’s teaching philosophy and focusing on community building.
  • Doubling the number of students served through the school’s financial aid program.

3. GETTING THE WORD OUT
Our downtown location, community programming, and consistent presence in local and online media have helped establish The Front Porch as a vibrant part of the Charlottesville arts community. Looking forward, we will pursue opportunities to further establish the school’s profile as a leading local arts organization and raise The Front Porch’s regional and national profile.

  • Expanding collaborations with area arts organizations, including music venues, cultural events, and community festivals.
  • Enhancing the school’s media presence across all appropriate platforms.
  • Attending conferences and visiting similar organizations across the country.

4 . STRUCTURE
Turning our Strategic Plan into reality relies on the efforts of many people, working in close alignment with the school’s mission, values, and vision. The Front Porch is community building in action – advancing high-quality educational experiences for our students, employing dedicated teachers and staff who are respected and well compensated, achieving excellence in non-profi t management and arts education, stewarding financial resources for the organization’s long-term sustainability, and investing in systems and technology that help us work as efficiently and effectively as possible.

  • Fundraising to fully support Front Porch staff positions, with a focus on Executive Director, General Manager and Community Service Coordinator positions.
  • Replenishing and growing the organization’s Board of Directors.
  • Creating a standardized dashboard of metrics to track and measure school priorities and achievements.
  • Developing a comprehensive student/teacher/donor information management database to track key data and maximize outreach effectiveness.
  • Continuing to attract and retain great teachers who are a good fi t with the school’s community-building mission and teaching philosophy.

5 . FACILITIES
The Front Porch has been fortunate to work with a host of community partners on major facility upgrades. As the school continues to grow, we will regularly consider and revisit ways to enhance our facilities for the benefit of our students, teachers, staff, audience members, and performers.

  • Maintaining exceptional facilities.

221 East Water Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902

The Front Porch is rooted in a simple premise: we are all, at our core, musicians.

Nourishing this idea – the taproot of The Front Porch tree – creates a vibrant and growing arts community. Children and adults taking up new instruments. Local musicians sharing their knowledge and passion. People joining dances, workshops, jams, and concerts. These creative explorations form the many branches of The Front Porch canopy. We have created a safe space for everyone in Charlottesville to explore their roots, and the roots of other cultures and places, through music.

The Charlottesville community has warmly supported us since we opened our doors in 2015. Community organizations have enthusiastically partnered with us. Teaching artists have said “yes” to joining a new organization that promotes and sustains music education. Performing artists have leapt at the chance to play in an intimate listening room environment. Area arts groups have partnered with us on events, shared our space, and invited us into their own communities.

Looking forward, we are focused on building a strong, sustainable, long-term foundation for The Front Porch. Our three-year strategic plan charts a bold path for the future. We will become even more inclusive, participatory, engaged, and responsive to the times we live in. We seek to bring more people together and reach new audiences. We strive to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. Through your support, The Front Porch can continue its remarkable journey, serving as a dynamic, creative hub for arts education and cultural celebration in the region and across Virginia.

I tell people all the time – you are already a musician, and your songs matter. I am convinced that sharing and connecting through music is vital for a more peaceful and harmonious society. Please join us in making this vision a reality.

EMILY MORRISON
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR