Dr. Ray Seol Awarded Grant for Creative Individuals from Mass Cultural Council

The grant will expand his Seu Aprendiz project designed to help individuals build resilience and persevere through challenging life events.

May 17, 2024

The Mass Cultural Council announced the recipients of the FY24 Grants for Creative Individuals, a new program designed to equitably advance creative expression throughout the Commonwealth with unrestricted grants. Dr. Ray Haeng Soo Seol, an assistant professor of professional music at Berklee College of Music, is one of the inaugural recipients.

This grant recognizes Dr. Seol’s significant efforts to provide awareness for suicide prevention and support individuals drastically affected by this tragic life event through his art project, Seu Aprendiz. Launched in 2021, Seu Aprendiz is a program designed to facilitate open conversations, particularly among young people in the metro Boston area, about finding inner strength and persevering through extremely challenging circumstances.

Listen to Dr. Seol discuss Seu Aprendiz and hear clips of the project on Sounds of Berklee:

"The Mass Cultural Council community always supports artists, and I am deeply grateful for their encouragement,” said Dr. Seol. “Seu Aprendiz is an expression of my appreciation for the community's support and showcases the profound ability of the arts to heal and bring people together."

The project carries enormous personal weight for Dr. Seol, as it began as a way to facilitate his personal healing process following the devastating loss of his mother, who made a tragic life decision. He has since been expanding this initiative into a musical playThe grant he has received will provide significant assistance in allowing him to continue developing this creative work.

While congratulating Dr. Seol on his award, Massachusetts State Representative Kate Donaghue commented on his significant artistic work: “Dr. Seol's initiative is dedicated to supporting suicide loss survivors and delivering a powerful message of hope using the healing properties of arts and music. I encourage projects that utilize the power of the arts to build resilience and assist in recovery. I am hopeful that Dr. Seol’s contributions will have a positive impact on our community."

For this fiscal year, the Mass Cultural Council has adopted a $44 million spending plan, allowing the agency to award 2,600 grants totaling approximately $38 million to the Commonwealth’s creative and cultural sector. This is funded primarily through public dollars, including the Agency’s $25.9 million state budget appropriation and support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Mass Cultural Council funds reach every community in the Commonwealth, advancing its mission to support and expand the state's creative and cultural sector by celebrating traditions and talents, championing its collective needs, and equitably investing public resources.

About the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. Visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more details.

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