Home / Spiffy's Blog / Gary Padmore: Using Music and Art as a Vehicle for Healing and Restoration
Gary Padmore: Using Music and Art as a Vehicle for Healing and Restoration

Gary Padmore: Using Music and Art as a Vehicle for Healing and Restoration

is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Gary A. Padmore, the vice president, education and community engagement of New York Philharmonic . Let’s learn how Gary is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Gary! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through New York Philharmonic?

Gary: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! With the help of health experts and community leaders, we're using music and the arts as a vehicle for healing and restoration. This happens naturally through all of our education concerts, but more specifically through a program that we've named Take a Breath. Our hope is that people walk away with tangible tools that allow them to move through whatever path towards wellness they may be on.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Gary: It has been documented that nearly a third of Americans have a diagnosed mental illness and these numbers are rapidly increasing for young people. Personally and within community, from the racial reckoning to the residual from the pandemic, we all need spaces to recharge, and to feel like we can be in community without any judgement or preconceived notions. 

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Gary: Our work directly targets members of the New York Philharmonic community, and that can be very broad. At the moment, our wellness event is stationed in Harlem, NY, but we pull people from all over New York City.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your community?

Gary: Separate from our wellness work, we are piloting a youth orchestra initiative that brings young people from nearly two dozen organizations from NYC. We're celebrating the importance of music education and the great work that our partners are doing to make that happen. It's a privilege to be in the same space with such talented young people.

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Gary: I believe that music is something that should be accessed by all people. I was fortunate during my early years to have some opportunities, but it is not lost on me that others don't have this fundamental right. My biggest work is to create great equity around who can access this artform, and how more people, specifically from historically marginalized communities, can be reflected in these experiences.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Gary—it’s been an honor!

Gary Padmore is the vice president, education and community engagement at New York Philharmonic where he oversees programs for young people, families, and communities around New York. In 2019, he was named one of Musical America’s 30 Movers and Shakers in the performing arts. (First published on the Ladderworks website on March 30, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Shikha Tandon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.