LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Little Rock music and performing arts center centered around exposing youth to creative arts has been selected as a finalist for a big prize with a large reward.

Out of 200 applications across the nation, the Brandon House Cultural and Performing Arts Center said they’re excited to be selected as a finalist to win the Accelerator Award of $500,000 by the Lewis Prize for Music.

Associate Director Patrice Bax said this could help students if they’re able to win this grant money which will officially be announced on January 8, 2024. She said it could help all of their students.

“Arkansas has some great raw talent that I think is untouched and untapped,” she said.

For years, Executive Director Pamela Bax said they’ve wanted to help all of their students with arts.

“We want to engage them in the arts,” she said. “A lot of our underserved students just have not had adequate access to artistic programming so the Lewis Prize for Music would help us address that gap.”

Patrice Bax said that’s not the only gap the award could help close.

“The fact that the money is unrestricted helps us so much,” she added. “This would allow us to hire the correct staff that we need and get the correct equipment.”

Already with multiple music programs, a dance studio and an art gallery, Bax said with the award money they can do more.

“Our hope with the program is that it’s a music program, so we hope to start a choir,” she said.

Bax said they have at least 75 students who are between the ages of 6 and 18.

“But we have the capacity to serve more but part of the reason why it’s been a challenge is funding,” she said.

Bax said she wants each student who steps into the booth to get more than just a lesson, but a career in performing arts.

“For our students, it kind of gives them a chance to dream bigger,” she said.

The center will officially know if it’s awarded the money on Jan. 9.