Artists in Residence Program: Great exposure to great music in your school and on the concert stage! 

Ensuring that your students have access to great music certainly isn’t getting any easier in today’s limited-budget climate. The Grand Rapids Symphony remains committed to ensuring that these experiences remain an active part of every child’s education.  One way we do this is through the Artists in Residence (AIR) Program.

This is a two-year partnership program between select schools and the Grand Rapids Symphony to provide not only traditional concert experiences, but also performances in the schools by small ensembles of Symphony musicians. Now, more than ever, the AIR program provides tremendous, cost-effective programming for your school.

Each year, participating schools receive:

Lollipop Concert Tickets - a first-exposure concert for all Kindergarten through second grade students at no additional cost to AIR Partners!

Third Grade Concert Tickets - All third graders attend this high energy concert featuring GRS Principal Percussionist, Bill Vits at no additional cost to AIR Partners!

Instrument/String Discovery Ensemble - All fourth grade students ahve the unique opportunity to an an up-close and hands-on view of select instruments of the orchestra led by Symphony musicians.  This experience is exclusive to the AIR program!

Fifth Grade Concert Tickets - All fifth grade students attend the annual highlight of the school year!  AIR partner schools are able to schedule this free concert before it is available to the general public.

Nooks & Crannies Tours - All sixth grade students are treated to a back-stage tour of DeVos Performance Hall, home of the Grand Rapids Symphony, which will not only inspire them, but will provide them with insight into the career options available in the arts!

In-school Performances - Each school also receives grade-level appropriate performances for all Kindergarten through sixth grade students in their school by small ensembles of GR Symphony musicians.  This experience is exclusive to the AIR Program!


The total value of this program is more than $12,000! Schools new to the AIR program are able to participate in their first two-year cycle FOR FREE thanks to the generous support of Grand Rapids Symphony donors, corporate and foundation partners.  After the initial cycle, schools are able to return for only $1,000 per year—just a fraction of the cost for participating in these events individually!

Participation fee waivers for schools with demonstrated need!

For returning schools, a limited number of AIR Participation Fee Waivers are available to schools with high percentages of students qualifying for the Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL) program.  Schools with at least 70% of their student body qualifying for the FRL program are eligible to be considered for a waiver.  You do not need to indicate that you wish to be considered for a waiver.  The selection process will use all the waivers available for the top qualifying schools based on percentages of FRL-eligible students.  If accepted, you will be notified if you will receive a waiver.  The AIR Program is free for the first two years for all new schools.

How to apply:

Schools are selected through an application process.  The application process for the 2018-2020 program cycle is completed. Applications for the 2020-2022 program cycle will be available in the winter 2020. The application deadline is March 1, 2020.  

Artists In Residence Information and Application

Interested in learning more?  Click on the AIR Program Application below to download the application materials for the 2018-2020 Program Cycle!

AIR Program Application

Presented by:

Sponsored by:

The Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow Foundation, The Harry A. & Margaret D. Towsley Foundation, Chase, Artsplace, Keller Foundation, Nestle Gerber, Beausse & Porter Family Foundation, Jeffrey & Michelle Kinzbach, and David & Carol Van Andel Family Foundation.