Mission StatementCore ValuesAnti-Bias Anti-Racism Statement


The mission of Neighborhood Music School is to deepen the human experience and build connections through the learning, practice, and presentation of the performing arts.


  • The Performing Arts: The performing arts are an essential part of the human experience at every stage of life.
  • Diverse Community: We celebrate each individual, nurture lasting relationships, create a sense of belonging, and understand that we are stronger when we learn from our differences.
  • Educational Excellence: Our talented and passionate teaching artists engage each student’s interest and enthusiasm, providing the tools they need to reach their unique potential.
  • Equity: We actively promote equity in arts education, enable broad access through financial aid, and remove barriers to learning and participation.
  • Joy: Together, we create joyful experiences that provide fulfillment, feed our souls, and energize us.


Neighborhood Music School rejects all forms of bias and racism as destructive to humanity and the school’s mission, values, and vision.

Founded in 1911 as a social service agency serving local immigrants, NMS has a strong and lasting commitment to center and support those who have been and continue to be deprived of equitable opportunities in New Haven.

Due to New Haven’s unique political, economic, and racial history, and the space NMS holds within it, we - the Board, Staff, and Teachers - believe we have a mandate to respond to the historical and continuing impact of systemic racism. 

In order to honor this commitment, we will champion the following beliefs:

  • The continuing impacts of bias and racism in the performing arts and in our institution must be addressed;
  • Bias and racism are often compounded by other forms of discrimination, including gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, and more;
  • Anti-bias anti-racism work requires sustained education and engagement;
  • Supporting each other in understanding and dismantling our personal biases and privilege is imperative;
  • The diversity, needs, and life experiences of each community member deserve respect, support, and celebration;
  • Bringing people together from diverse backgrounds to learn and grow from one another’s differences is critical.

In order to uphold these beliefs, we are proactively addressing bias and racism by taking the following actions:

  • Establishing a school community that shares the collective responsibility to address, eliminate, and prevent actions, decisions, and outcomes that result from and perpetuate bias and/or racism;
  • Cultivating and uplifting the unique gifts, talents, and interests of every student in order to remove barriers and biases that impact their success;
  • Providing ongoing anti-bias anti-racism training for our board, staff, and teachers;
  • Examining our programs, pedagogy, and policies, in order to uncover and eliminate inherent biases and barriers to accessing education;
  • Creating and strengthening programs to reflect cultural and racial diversity and include a range of perspectives and experiences, particularly of those who are historically underrepresented in the arts;  
  • Actively promoting and sustaining artists who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color;
  • Building intentional relationships with other organizations that support and are accountable to the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities;
  • Recruiting, hiring, and supporting new board, teachers, and staff members who represent the diversity of the New Haven community.

We acknowledge that this work must be ongoing and we are committed to the effort, dedication of resources, and honest and reflective evaluation necessary to be learners and creators of cultural and racial equity.