Noble Maritime Collection To Receive $10K Grant From National Endowment For The Arts


Noble Maritime Collection to Receive $10,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK, January 11, 2023—The Noble Maritime Collection has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive a Challenge America award of $10,000.  This grant will support the museum’s new education program Musical Voyage Around the World.

The museum is the recipient of one of 262 Challenge America awards totaling $2.62 million that were announced by the NEA as part of its first round of fiscal year 2023 grants.


“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects in communities nationwide,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD.  “Projects such as this one with The Noble Maritime Collection strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy.”


“Music education sparks creativity in our young children and plays a significant role in helping them enhance their listening, motor, and social skills,” Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis said.  “I’m pleased to see NEA support the Noble Maritime Collection with this award so our students can have more access to music education and deepen their understanding of diverse music from around the globe.”

The Noble Maritime Collection’s Director of Programs Dawn Daniels performs Irish step dancing for students; photograph by Michael McWeeney, courtesy of the museum.

The Noble Maritime Collection’s Director of Programs Dawn Daniels performs Irish step dancing for students; photograph by Michael McWeeney, courtesy of the museum.

Musical Voyage Around the World is a program to introduce general and special education students in the third through eighth grade to maritime history, water transport, and ethnomusicology.

“The staff and board of the Noble Maritime Collection are grateful to the NEA for the opportunity to bring live, traditional music into the schools in our community with this innovative program that also celebrates Staten Island’s maritime heritage,” said Executive Director Ciro Galeno, Jr.


The Noble Maritime Collection’s Director of Programs Dawn Daniels is developing the program and will implement it during its pilot year with the assistance of diverse, professional musicians.  They will lead students at PS 59: The Harbor View School in St. George and PS 373, District 75’s main location in Randall Manor, on an imaginary voyage around the world through interactive lessons, musical instrument exploration, and performance participation.


“When I was little I had a book about children from all parts of the world.  I never forgot it, and it inspired me to write an education program that celebrates the music of diverse cultures,” said Mrs. Daniels.  “Musical Voyage Around the World explores performing arts traditions by bringing children on a pretend journey to all the continents. The program connects music with the museum’s vision of using the arts to make maritime culture accessible to all people.”


Some of the performing artists who will be participating in the program are Yakkhanadha Drumming and Dance Troupe, musician and former deep-sea diver Bob Wright, and musician and former All Ireland and World Champion Irish dancer Niall O’Leary.  Artist Steve Negrón will illustrate an accompanying activity book.

The Noble Maritime Collection at historic Snug Harbor Cultural Center; photograph by Michael Falco, courtesy of the museum.

The Noble Maritime Collection at historic Snug Harbor Cultural Center; photograph by Michael Falco, courtesy of the museum.

Ethnomusicologist Andrew Shahriari, PhD will serve as advisor and will write the forward for the program’s activity book.  Dr. Shahriari is a Professor at Kent State University and has published the book World Music: A Global Journey, co-authored with Kent State Professor Emeritus Terry E. Miller.


A team of students and teachers will serve as a focus group and help guide the selection of content material, such as songs and stories, to be included in the completed program.


“PS373R is a District 75 specialized school that educates students on the Autism Spectrum, those with Down’s Syndrome, and students with challenging behaviors from grades Pre-K through 8,” said PS373 arts administrator Elena Seminara.

Ms. Seminara continued, “All of our students fall within the free lunch category and come from low socio-economic backgrounds.  They have few to no opportunities to engage in quality arts experiences outside of the school.  The students are multi-sensory learners that respond well to the arts, which become a vehicle for all areas of their learning across the curriculum.  This Challenge America grant will be so beneficial to the students.”


After its one-year pilot phase, the program will be available to all public and private schools.

For more information on other projects included in the NEA’s grant announcement, visit

In addition to Musical Voyage Around the World, the Noble Maritime Collection offers a variety of arts education programs, including immersive character-based classes that teach about history, and art classes including printmaking, inspired by Noble’s preference for the medium.  Programs can be conducted virtually for wider access.  For more information, visit

The museum is located in Building D, a former mariners’ dormitory at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, New York, 10301.  It is open from 12 until 5 PM, Thursdays through Sundays.  Admission is by donation.

For more information, call (718) 447-6490 or visit

Banner Image: He’s Playing Our Song, a painting by Steve Negrón, who will illustrate the program activity book; Image Credit – Steve Negron



Ciro Galeno

The mission of the Noble Maritime Collection, an art and history museum in Staten Island, New York, is to present exhibitions and programs that celebrate the working waterfront of New York Harbor in the tradition of distinguished artist John A. Noble (1913-1983), and to preserve Robbins Reef Lighthouse and the history of Sailors’ Snug Harbor.

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