Sphinx Organization honored at the White House

Children rehearsing as part of the Sphinx Organization's Overture program for beginning violinists.Sphinx Organization

November 17, 2016

For nearly 20 years, the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization has been dedicated to the mission of "transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts." Their programs reach over 100,000 students in 200 schools across the country, and have provided over $2.5 million in scholarships to students and musicians.

This year, they were one of 12 winners (chosen from 251 nominees) honored by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House, where they received a 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

"We're a country that believes in our young people," Obama said in a ceremony earlier this week. "We believe that every single child has boundless promise — no matter who they are, where they come from, or how much money their parents have... we believe that each of these young people is a vital part of the great American story.

"These kids represent the very best of America, and they remind us all of who we really are."

"We hope this award will draw attention to the fact that access to the arts is essential in the lives of our young people and in our communities as a whole," said Afa Dworkin, President and Artistic Director of the Sphinx Organization. "We're incredibly honored by this distinction. At a time that is so divisive and turbulent, our young artists symbolize promise, compassion and achievement. They are empowered to change the narrative in our communities as well as our field."

The ceremony included a performance by The Perfect Fourth String Quartet (representing Sphinx's educational programming), and members Aidan Daniels, Maxwell Fairman, Pierce Ellis, and Nicholas Reeves. Watch their performance in the video below.