New Music Inc. Incubator Program to Generate New Ideas

New Music USA today launched New Music Inc—an incubator program designed to help small-budget, artist-led music organizations generate new ideas, strategies, and collaborations at pivotal stages in the group or collective’s development. This program, which reflects New Music USA’s aim to grow its services across multiple US cities over the next five years, is now open in Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City. It will provide participating organizations with financial support coupled with hands-on skill building in a cohort environment intended to foster collective learning and collaboration within and between the three cities. The overarching goal is to create a supportive space through which a cohort of artist-led organizations can learn together, sharing the unique challenges and opportunities they face.  

The program will explore themes and challenges identified by participating organizations in collaboration with local Program Coordinators and New Music USA staff. New Music Inc is open to organizations, collectives, or groups working in any music style. Each cohort will consist of 50% BIPOC-led organizations to reflect the diversity of creators and artists who are contributing to each location’s music community. A 501(c)3 tax status is not required.  

The New Music Inc program is based on the New Music Capacity Building Program that New Music USA launched in 2020 in New York with support from The New York Community Trust. The immense value the program provided to grantees has been recognized by new funders, allowing New Music USA to develop an enhanced “New Music Inc” model, which includes core elements of the capacity building program model with new opportunities for inter-city exchange generated by the program’s delivery concurrently in three cities. The New Music Inc programs are funded and made possible by The New York Community Trust (New York City) and the Walder Foundation (Chicago). The Baltimore program is supported in part by grants from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation and The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation.  

Work is in progress to launch New Music Inc in more cities in the coming years, supporting New Music USA’s aim to deepen its impact in the many diverse music communities across the US. New Music Inc (including its predecessor, the Capacity Building Program) is the second program New Music USA has recently developed that provides services and support tailored to the specific needs of small organizations across the US. These programs are partly in response to feedback shared during local community meetings hosted by New Music USA in recent years. The other such program is the Small Grant Fund, which launched in Portland, OR last year.  “New Music Inc reflects our belief that multi-faceted support - combining financial help with connectivity, learning, and sharing of experience - provides organizations with the strongest catalyst for long-term change,” says Vanessa Reed, President and CEO of New Music USA. “We are grateful to our funders in New York, Chicago and Baltimore for enabling us to invest time and resources that will have ripple effects across the music communities and cities taking part.”  

BL Shirley, Executive Director of Die Jim Crow Records and part of the Capacity Building Program on which New Music Inc is based, shares, “Being a New Music USA Capacity Building grantee has been key to the development of Die Jim Crow Records. In conjunction with the actual grant itself, the mentorship and consultation New Music USA provides is invaluable. It has helped us tremendously with building our infrastructure in a methodical way, setting and achieving attainable goals, and maximizing every resource in an effort to expand our bandwidth."  

Applicants can learn more about the program and application on the New Music Inc program page here, which also features testimonial videos from members of each city’s music community on why this program is needed. New Music USA will host a free webinar and Q&A session about the program on May 25 at 2PM ET, RSVP here. Closed Captioning and ASL will be provided.   

Each city’s cohort will be supported by a local Program Coordinator who is an active member of the city’s local music communities, read more about them below. 

Baltimore: Marquis Gasque (Mighty Mark) Mighty Mark is a producer and DJ who has been a pioneer in the Baltimore Club Music world for over a decade, with his first steps in the scene dating back to 2007. Through his every production and remix, he strives to exemplify the raw and gritty sounds from his hometown, Baltimore, Maryland. He has produced several songs for TT The Artist, multiple of which have been featured in the HBO series Insecure, and has been featured in publications including Complex, Vice, Noisey, and Fader. Mark also makes it his mission to help and advocate for other artists; he was the first non-lawyer to join Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (MdVLA), for which he now serves as Vice President and helps creatives in his community with legal problems. 
Chicago: Kori Coleman Kori Coleman is a Chicago-based curatorial artist & creative strategist. She is a graduate of Spelman College with a degree in Philosophy, and a background in marketing & advertising. In her role as the Executive & Artistic Director of D-Composed, she invests much of her time guiding the overall strategic and creative vision of D-Composed. She works and collaborates with notable and upcoming Black creatives across the country so D-Composed can transcend genres and mediums through their innovative and conceptual programming. 
New York: Amanda Gookin Cellist Amanda Gookin champions the future of music through the creation and bold performance of new works, and a dedication to education, culture, and community engagement. Her initiative Forward Music Project commissions new multimedia works for solo cello that elevate stories of feminine empowerment through raw performances and educational initiatives. She is also Executive Director of the MATA Festival in New York City and the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival in Virginia, a performing member of new music groups Contemporaneous and Nu Deco, and designs and leads courses on social leadership, music history, and improvisation at The New School College of Performing Arts and SUNY Purchase. Amanda is a sought-after public speaker on the intersections of activism and music and has made appearances on TEDxMidAtlantic, Houston Public Media, Second Inversion, and I Care If You Listen. 

About New Music USA New Music USA supports and amplifies the sounds of tomorrow by nurturing the creation, performance, and appreciation of new music for adventurous listeners in the United States and beyond. We empower and connect US-based music makers, organizations, and audiences by providing funding through our grants; offering support and fostering new connections through our programs; deepening knowledge through our online magazine, NewMusicBox; and working as an advocate for the field. New Music USA envisions a thriving and equitable ecosystem for new music throughout the United States. Learn more at newmusicusa.org.  

Funders and donors interested in exploring how to support a New Music Inc program in their city are invited to contact Ami Dang, Development Director at New Music USA: [email protected]