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Betty Perry

  • Visual Art
Perry, Betty


“Now I understand, on a deeper level, why I am so committed to youth and families and why I am heavily invested in providing opportunities for underserved youth. However, I also have learned why I insist that my program is racially, economically, and socially diverse. It is to bring communities together through the power of music.”






Betty, a violist and music educator, created the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra for inner city youth in Indianapolis. She strives to positively impact their future economic and social well-being by developing life skills learned through creating music. Betty grew up in the foster care system in the Bronx and was twelve when her grandmother became her legal guardian. With the support of her grandmother and her music teacher, they nurtured her love of the viola through training, performing, and experiencing the arts in New York. It was during her time at the Third Street Music School Settlement that Betty was inspired to dedicate her life to providing music opportunities for youth.

For her Creative Renewal, she wanted to explore her history and to better understand the woman and mentor she had become. She visited New York City and went back to all the places she had lived and was educated. She returned to the orphanage where she lived and spoke to the orphanage director. He shared the history of the orphanage and of another tremendous success story (currently the Fire Chief of New York City). She visited former mentors and students who were instrumental in her life. “Mentoring is a great thing. It is one of the pillars of my music program. With the help of strong mentors in my life, I was able to step outside of my community and experience a whole other world.”


Violist, Master Teacher, Conductor 
Artistic Director and Founder, Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, a program of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra 
Student of the renowned Third Street Music School Settlement

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