The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $1.75 million to Virginia Tech’s Institute for Cultural Policy and Practice (ICPP) to fund the ongoing work of the Orchestra Forum. The forum, established in 1999, supports the organizational change efforts of 13 of the nation’s most artistically vital and forward-thinking symphony orchestras.

The Institute for Cultural Policy and Practice facilitates the convening of musicians, trustees, and executives of these organizations in creatively addressing four primary themes: strengthening the work of artistic leadership, developing the artistic and institutional roles of musicians, building collaborative cultures within orchestra organizations, and expanding the relationship of orchestras to their communities.

Participants in The Orchestra Forum are the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s (NYC), Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Symphony, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, and Toledo Symphony.

In addition to its groundbreaking work in support of the Orchestra Forum, the Institute for Cultural Policy and Practice conducts research and identifies exemplary practices within the arts and culture field and focuses on new approaches to training arts leaders and enhancing organizational performance. Through research (which includes data collection and interpretation, case studies, resource materials, and secondary analysis) and convening (introducing thinkers and strategists in other fields for a wider perspective), ICPP’s goals are to achieve stronger leadership, greater organizational effectiveness, and enriched field-wide learning across the arts and culture sector nationwide.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation makes grants in higher education, museums and art conservation, performing arts, conservation and the environment, and public affairs. The Foundation seeks to strengthen institutions and their capacities rather than encourage them to take on ancillary activities, and seeks to stay with programs long enough to achieve meaningful results.