Students in the Juneau Alaska Music Matters program perform for members of the Alaska Legislature and other attendees at an event Feb. 6 at the Alaska State Museum. (Photo by Emily Ferry)

Students in the Juneau Alaska Music Matters program perform for members of the Alaska Legislature and other attendees at an event Feb. 6 at the Alaska State Museum. (Photo by Emily Ferry)

Neighbors: Juneau Alaska Music Matters program receives state and national awards

For over 20 years Lorrie Heagy has been leading arts education integration in Juneau. This month the Alaska Arts Education Consortium awarded Lorrie the Arts Leader Champion of the Arts in Education Award. The award is given to those who carry the torch for arts education through high-caliber instruction, arts support, and ongoing arts promotion.

The music education program Heagy founded, Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM) was also one of seven organizations to receive the Lewis Prize for Music for the program’s work in systems change, racial equity, social justice, and creative youth development.

JAMM is held up by school and community partners and serves over 500 students across three elementary schools and one secondary school within the Juneau School District with programming both during and after school. The mission of the program is to use the power of music and the social experience of ensemble to help youth reach their fullest potential.

In recent years Heagy has worked with native organizations to integrate Tlingit language education into the work of JAMM. She was adopted into the Kiks.adi (Frog) clan and is carried by the name, Gax̱.áansán.

“Her programs prove, year after year, the value, power, and primacy of both the arts and of indigenous language education,” said Ryan Conarro, the long-time teaching artist collaborator who nominated Heagy for the award.

“Another way that Lorrie stands out is in her intentional decision to remain rooted as a classroom teacher,” said Conarro. “Many of our peers in the field choose to shift to administrative and organizational leadership. Lorrie has tested and proven her belief that the most impactful and lasting change can start from, and always come back to, the individual classroom.”

Heagy was recognized at the Alaska Council of School Administrators 2024 Alaska’s Heart through Student Art Show, an annual celebration co-sponsored by the Alaska Arts Education Consortium and at a recent Juneau School Board meeting.

More information about the 2024 Alaska Arts Education Consortium Champions of Arts in Education is available on the AAEC website at and you can learn about JAMM at

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