A Community Engagement Program
Virginia Arts Festival
The Rhythm Project is a world percussion ensemble dedicated to the nurturing of self-esteem through individual and cooperative achievement. Founded in 1996, the program was started in Portsmouth, VA by the Virginia Arts Festival. There are four elementary and three middle school Rhythm Project groups that feed the program's premiere performing ensemble, the All-Stars. The All-Stars is a year-round program for high school students that focuses on instilling discipline and dedication in students through performance and touring opportunities. Additionally, two high school groups complete the family of ten Rhythm Project ensembles that serve the cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Portsmouth.
The All-Stars, 2009 and 2010 Virginia International PANFest Grand Champions, have earned international acclaim and collaborated with many prominent artists. They have opened for Gladys Knight, shared the stage with pan artist Victor Provost and the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, and performed at the Royal Nova Scotia and Virginia International Tattoos. In May 2014, the group was featured on NPR's "From the Top" program showcasing outstanding talent in high school students.
The Rhythm Project is supported in part by the Batten Educational Achievement Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, D. Baker Ames Charitable Foundation, and the following companies and municipalities and/or their Arts and Humanities Commissions: Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach, Bank of America, Capital Group Companies, Clark Nexsen, Dominion Resources, Enterprise Holdings Foundation, Nordstrom, PRA Group, SunTrust, USAA, Virginia Lottery, and Wells Fargo.