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National Endowment for the Arts Announces Grant to Chops’ Pan Outreach Program

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

Today, the National Endowment for the Arts announced that Chops’ Pan Outreach program will receive a $15,000 grant. This funding from the prestigious NEA program will support steel-drum residencies at K-12 public schools in 2023.

Pan Outreach, an artist-in-residence program founded at Chops in 2018, partners with host schools to bring steel-pan instruction to schools for 6 - 8 week residencies throughout the academic year. The program is free for low-income public schools.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects in communities nationwide,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “Projects such as this one with Chops' Pan Outreach strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy.”

“It’s unusual for a first-time applicant like Chops to be funded by the National Endowment for the Arts,” said Chops executive director Megan O’Leary. “Jeremy Kunkel and the Pan Outreach team have created a program that meets the NEA’s rigorous standards for music education. We are thankful to the NEA for supporting music education during this incredibly challenging time for students and educators.”

“To think that a 12-person steel drum band that started less than 10 years ago has matured and evolved into programs that now garner federal funding and international recognition is quite humbling,” said Jeremy Kunkel, founder and director of Pan Outreach. “It's a testament to all the tireless work and support of some truly amazing people during that span.”

The mission of Pan Outreach is to provide world music educational opportunities and artist development through steel pan instruction and performance. Interested in learning, hosting, donating, or volunteering? Visit to get involved in this exciting program.

Chops, Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with a mission to improve lives through music education and performing arts. We meet our mission with professional bands and artist-in-residence programs, and by offering fiscal sponsorship and technical support to community-based performing arts groups like All City Music. To learn more and get involved, please visit

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