PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse joined representatives and students from Community MusicWorks and the Newport String Project Tuesday to celebrate $300,000 in federal funding to support and expand music education in urban areas of the state.

“This new federal funding will help [Community MusicWorks and the Newport String Project] expand their reach so more Rhode Island children are exposed to the perks – and pleasure – of learning music from an early age,” Whitehouse said.

The funding, which Whitehouse secured as a Congressionally Directed Spending award, will allow the two after-school arts programs to increase enrollment.

Community MusicWorks, which is based in Providence, plans to enroll an additional 29 students using the money. Students who participate in the organization’s Daily Orchestra Program spend time after school every day learning to play violin, viola, and cello in an ensemble setting.

“We teach children not just the technical skills […] but also things like how to tap into their individual creativity through conversation, how to listen to each other’s ideas, both music and otherwise, and how to appreciate a range of diverse musical styles,” said Lisa Barksdale, who coordinates the program.

The federal funding will also allow the Newport String Project to add 15 more students to its youth roster. The Project offers Newport County students free violin, viola, and cello lessons provided by members of the Newport String Quartet.

“The Newport String Project is grateful for this support that enables us to deepen the impact of our programs in Newport County,” said Ealain McMullin, the Project’s co-founder and artistic director.

Qualifying students can join the waiting list for either program online.

Back to School - In-depth coverage starts August 28 - 12 News 6AM & 5PM