Melissa Barlow began playing the double bass at age 8 and she has performed with orchestras and ensembles throughout her career in some of the greatest performing arts halls worldwide. And as director of arts and community programs at The Heights Center, she’s also pursuing her passion for music education.

“My passion for music and the arts began at an early age and inspired me to pursue a degree
in music education. My vision to expand the access to music to underserved communities is what brought me to Southwest Florida in 2015,” she says. “I founded and continue to lead The Heights Center’s MOSAIC (Musical Opportunities Supporting the Arts In our Community) program, which annually provides music lessons and performance opportunities to approximately 50 school-aged children.”

In addition to MOSAIC, Barlow is also responsible for developing arts and music programs for children and adults, coordinates the center’s annual community outreach programs and manages volunteers.

What are your future aspirations?

Arts and cultural programs play an essential role in community development. Everyone regardless of age or socioeconomic status should have access to the arts. The power that music and art has in transforming lives and strengthening our communities is what motivates me to keep advocating for equitable arts opportunities.