social change | October 04, 2018

Lavin Speaker Vijay Gupta—a Violinist Who Helps the Homeless and Incarcerated—Named a 2018 MacArthur “Genius”

Violinist and educator Vijay Gupta has just been named by the MacArthur Foundation as one of their 2018 Fellows—a distinction known cheekily as the “Genius” Award. Recognizing Gupta’s remarkable work with Street Symphony, his musical engagement program that pairs professional musicians with Skid Row LA residents, Gupta was named for “providing musical enrichment and valuable human connection to the homeless, incarcerated, and other under-resourced communities.”

As a member of the MacArthur Class of 2018, the Foundation recognized Gupta’s unique model of outreach to marginalized individuals in places that offer other social services. “His strategy of generating musical projects through extended engagement and by forging interpersonal relationships has begun to inspire other performing groups in the Los Angeles area to be more socially conscious. Dedicated to bringing beauty, respite, and purpose to those all too often ignored by society, Gupta is demonstrating the capacity of music to validate our shared humanity and focusing needed attention on interrelated social issues that cluster at places such as Skid Row.” 


Receiving news of his fellowship, Gupta says “The MacArthur Fellowship is an incredibly humbling honor, affirming not only the work of Street Symphony, but the work of our partners and communities who continually remind us that the arts are a powerful force for community, belonging and humanity.  Through performance, dialogue and teaching artistry, Street Symphony illuminates the lives and stories of people impacted by homelessness and incarceration in Los Angeles County. Every person has a story that matters, and every person deserves access to a creative and expressive life. Music fosters community—not only to heal and inspire—but as a powerful force, forging the arc of social justice towards our common humanity.”


Watch the MacArthur Foundation’s video interview with Vijay Gupta below:

Violinist and Social Justice Advocate Vijay Gupta | 2018 MacArthur Fellow


To book speaker (and now MacArthur Fellow) Vijay Gupta for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today. Be sure to check out our other MacArthur Fellows too, from journalists to artists and more. 

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