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Calling All Female Music Educators—Apply for the Liz Swados Inspiration Grant Now

ZEALnyc, May 11, 2017

The life of a school teacher is often one of oversight and lack of recognition for the significant contributions they make to our future generations, much less music teachers and those working in the arts. Last year, after the untimely passing of musical pioneer Liz Swados, actress Diane Lane partnered with the Ziegfeld Club to establish a grant to honor an influential female music educator in the New York City area. Eligible applicants are encouraged to submit their materials between May 15 – June 16, 2017, whereby the recipient will be honored at a reception in November 2017 at the New Amsterdam Theatre, as well as receiving a grant in the amount of Five Thousand Dollars.

Liz Swados; courtesy of artist’s website /

The Liz Swados Inspiration Grant, personally underwritten by Diane Lane, honors the legacy of Liz Swados, perhaps best known for her Broadway and international smash hit Runaways; she composed, wrote and directed for over thirty years. Some of her works include the Obie Award-winning Trilogy at La MaMa, Alice at the Palace with Meryl Streep at the New York Shakespeare Theater Festival, and Groundhog, which was optioned by director Milos Forman for a film. Now as she underwrites the grant for a second time, Ms. Lane says, “It is with Liz’s spirit of empowerment for under-recognized women in the field of teaching music that we wish to continue her legacy and impact. Helping young people find their voice, both physically and emotionally, to express what their art has to give… That is the catalyst, that is the spark of encouragement.”

Diane Lane; photo:Mark Seliger.

It is significant that Lane chose to partner with The Ziegfeld Club, which is among the first not-for-profits in the Broadway community. Founded in 1936 by Billie Burke in honor of her late husband Florenz Ziegfeld musical theater impresario and producer of the legendary Ziegfeld Follies. The organization was originally formed to provide help to Ziegfeld Girls who had fallen on hard times. As all of the Ziegfeld Girls have now passed away, the Ziegfeld Club’s mission remains to help women of today’s musical theatre.

Those interested in applying for the Liz Swados Inspiration Grant must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Must be a female teacher or teaching artist
  • Primary field must be music education
  • Must have at least five (5) years of teaching experience
  • Must teach at least 20 hours/week
  • Must live AND work in New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island), and have been a resident of NYC for at least one-year prior to application

Interested applicants may submit all application materials (see list below) via email to by Friday, June 16, 2017 at 11:59pm EST. The recipient will be chosen in late June 2017.

The following application materials are required for consideration:

  • Resume including at least the past five years of applicants teaching experience
  • Two essay questions (totaling no more than one page):
    What led you to teach music in New York City?
    What is your music education philosophy?
  • Two letters of recommendation:
    One letter from a past or present employer or college
    One letter from a past or present student

The organization stresses that all materials must be contained in one email submission. For more information click here.


Founding Ziegfeld Club Members in 1936; courtesy of the Ziegfeld Club.

Cover: (back row) Roz Lichter, Diane Lane, Laurie Sanderson, and Eleanor Lambert and (front row) Masi Asare, Cecilia Smith (Liz Swados Inspiration Grant Recipient) and Anna K. Jacobs at 2016 presentation event; photo: David Gordon.


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