First Margaret Stewart Lindsay Arts Leadership Award Announced
From the Top was pleased to give the first Margaret Stewart Lindsay Arts Leadership Award to violist Griffin Gaffney at our show in Boston yesterday.
Margaret Stewart Lindsay inspired many by overcoming her personal challenges and for her generous compassion. She turned her life experience into a desire to help others. She had a passion for the arts, and she believed in educational opportunity for all. Margaret passed away at the age of 62, but her legacy lives on through the Margaret Stewart Lindsay Arts Leadership Program, which promotes her values and her spirit by providing training and support to young musicians who want to follow her lead. In addition, the program provides five awards of $500 each to outstanding young Arts Leaders.
From the Top is pleased and proud to give the first Margaret Stewart Lindsay Arts Leadership Award to violist Griffin Gaffney. After appearing on From the Top in May 2008 at the age of 17, Griffin was motivated by the Arts Leadership workshop to take action in his hometown of Portland, Oregon by creating a free-lesson program for school children.
Griffin started playing the viola in the fourth grade as a result of his school’s music program and was inspired to give others that same opportunity. He partnered with Friendly House, a local community center, and organized a benefit concert to raise funds to buy instruments for his students. In November of 2008, Griffin began teaching a weekly violin class at the center.
One of Griffin’s most memorable moments occurred when he was sizing the students for their violins. “Two at a time I brought the students aside from their classes to test them,” recalls Griffin. “When one of the students approached she yelped, ‘I’m going to faint! I’m so excited! I’ve never seen a real violin before!’ She kept telling me that it was the best day of her life and that it was a miracle that this was happening to her. Teaching these students, I am learning how much I truly love music.”
Now a first year student at Harvard University, Griffin is working with Friendly House and the Community Music Center in Portland to ensure the program will continue to thrive.