MetroPelican Opera, the educational/outreach "wing" of the New Orleans Opera Association, was founded in 1988 by Arthur Cosenza, the General and Artistic Director of the company. He chose "Metro" to represent the 7-parish population base of greater New Orleans, and "Pelican" for the state bird. MetroPelican has subsequently toured throughout Louisiana, as well as crossing state borders into Mississippi and Texas, and continues to offer quality experiences to schools, libraries, and community centers. Artists are drawn from the wealth of talented performers based in the Crescent City. MetroPelican has created 6 new performance programs since 1994, and 3 of these have continued to tour the city and state. In the year 2000 MetroPelican received Gambit Magazine's "Tribute to the Classical Arts" Education Award for outstanding achievement.