Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Awards $424,900 to Support Technology Initiatives in Jazz

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation has awarded a total of $424,900 in grants through the first round of its Jazz.NEXT program. Jazz.NEXT is a new national jazz initiative designed to encourage the application of technology in substantive and innovative approaches to developing audiences; communicating with the public; marketing, distributing, and selling the work of jazz artists; and building a more robust jazz infrastructure better positioned to meet current and future challenges.

The following organizations received grants:

National Federation of Community Broadcasters (Oakland, CA)
Planning Grant: $32,800

As jazz musicians and small record labels move to digital recording formats and distribution, jazz radio stations require significant assistance to access the music and convert their existing libraries to digital formats. NFCB will engage up to eight public radio jazz stations, representing the spectrum of the nearly 70 public stations from across the country that primarily program jazz, to explore the planning, training and development of best practices to access, catalog, and store digital music. The planning process will ultimately yield a blueprint to develop curriculum that trains jazz stations to create and maintain digital music libraries and enhance their music programming.

Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey, CA)
Implementation Grant: $98,300

The Monterey Jazz Festival will enhance its Internet-based Digital Music Education Project, an interactive online music resource supporting jazz education, through the incorporation of new technology applications. Proposed upgrades will combine digital sound files, music downloads, streaming video, and images from the Festival’s extensive photo archives, and link these elements together to create a compelling digital education environment responsive to the needs of each visitor to the site. While the site will be free of charge, opportunities exist for generating potential new revenue streams for the host and featured artists through downloadable music sales.

National Public Radio (Washington, D.C.)
Implementation Grant: $98,300

NPR will launch a new website solely focused on jazz, NPR.org/jazz. The new site will build on the organization’s jazz blog, A Blog Supreme, which presents commentary, analysis, hyperlinks, streaming audio, and embedded videos; their highly influential music website, NPR.org/music; and their on-air jazz programming. NPR member stations producing original jazz content will be featured on the new site, while receiving support to enhance their own websites. With a weekly audience of over 27.5 million people and partnerships with more than 860 public radio stations in the United States, NPR.org/jazz presents the potential to dramatically reach new constituencies for jazz and deepen their relationship with existing jazz fans.

Savannah Music Festival (Savannah, GA)
Implementation Grant: $97,600

Utilizing new technology applications, the Savannah Music Festival will expand the reach of its music education program Swing Central High School Jazz Band Competition and Workshop to a broader national audience. The current program, which provides intensive instruction by renowned jazz artists and music educators, reaches students at 50 high schools across the United States. Jazz.NEXT support will enable the development of a Swing Central interactive website with online video lessons, student/faculty performance webcasts and profiles, streaming of Festival performances, and links to artists’ websites, among other content, which would then be available as a pedagogical tool for interested jazz students and educators across the country.

Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Implementation Grant: $97,900

The Walker Arts Center is a multidisciplinary presenting organization noted for its effective use of new technologies to engage audiences across disciplines. Support will allow the Walker to test multiple new and existing technological approaches to broaden its jazz audiences and deepen their experiences. Content will be developed for mobile and web-based applications, including blogs and webcasts, and hardware will be purchased to accommodate the technical demands of the expansion. A one-year administrative Jazz/New Media Fellow will be hired to launch and coordinate all online jazz initiatives and fully integrate jazz programming and content throughout all digital platforms.

The Jazz.NEXT program is made possible through a $1 million grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Foundation received a total of 96 Jazz.NEXT applications requesting nearly $4.2 million in support. The applications were submitted by individual artists, jazz presenters and festivals, local arts councils, museums, public radio stations, service organizations, and university-based centers for jazz studies, among others. All regions of the United States were represented in the applicant pool with applications from 25 different states and jurisdictions.

The Foundation convened a panel of five representatives from the jazz, presenting, philanthropy and technology sectors to review applications. The panel included: Gavin Clabaugh, Vice President, Information Services (Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Flint, MI); Chuck Helm, Director, Performing Arts (Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH); Danny Melnick, President (Absolutely Live Entertainment, LLC, New York, NY); James Sharper, Project Manager (AKQA, Washington, D.C.); Molly Sheridan, Director, Counterstream Radio/NewMusicBox,(American Music Center, Baltimore, MD). (—Condensed from the press release)