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Who Are We


The Vision:

   Making an impact by teaching community, creativity, and joy to every child, artist and teacher.

The Mission:

    CUMEP empowers and uplifts children of all walks of life so they can develop self-awareness, academic success and

    social/civic responsibility through the performing arts.

Our Story:

The Community Unity Music Education Program, or CUMEP for short, is a multicultural performing arts and human rights education program. Established in 2002, CUMEP is a not-for-profit organization that serves children from all communities, but particularly children from inner-city neighborhoods in Ithaca, NY. Our goal is to provide participating youth with multicultural instruction in music and the arts, for the purpose of supporting their development of positive self-esteem, academic and social skills, self-confidence, self-discipline, and public performance skills. Participants develop a great level of awareness and excitement about college and career opportunities. Housed in the historic Southside Community Center, CUMEP encourages kids from ages 3-18 to engage in their social realities related to human rights through classes in music, drumming, modern band, string instruments, recording music, art, journaling and more.


Through their involvement in the program, the children also establish relationships with positive role models who reinforce these goals. CUMEP is dedicated to fostering leadership and independence through collaboration with counselors and teachers. Counselors are given the opportunity to work alongside veteran leaders and hone their leadership skills in an in-depth, real-life experience. The teachers and group leaders at CUMEP are comprised of veteran teachers in the Ithaca area, as well as students in the Ithaca College Masters of Education program. IC students work alongside mentor teachers and are given valuable field experience in an incredibly diverse setting.











After 15 years of serving the greater Ithaca community, CUMEP is thriving and expanding to serve more of the greater Ithaca community. CUMEP went on the road this past year with Dr. Nia Nunn and Shannon Frier to many schools in the Ithaca area. The purpose of these visits was to give all students access to the important lessons that CUMEP offers on human rights through music and dance, as well as provide educators in the schools concrete ways to incorporate these conversations in their classrooms. CUMEP has also been performing around the community at retirement homes, the Hangar theater, and other schools as a way to give back and show gratitude for years of support, as well as spread the CUMEP philosophy.







Even though the summer program is only 4 weeks long, the lessons that are taught last all year. Participants develop ways of learning about themselves and others around them. This program runs during the month of July, Monday through Thursday from 8-12. If you or someone you love is interested in this program, please sign up today!

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