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Jazz Arts Group awarded funds for continuing innovation by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
(Published: January 18, 2012)

Columbus, OH - The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (JAG) is honored to be the recipient of a $120,000 Continuing Innovation Stage II grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF).

In November 2009, JAG received a $200,000 grant from the DDCF Fund for National Projects. That funding was used to launch a first-of-its-kind national study to gain deeper understanding of current and potential jazz audiences, their level of involvement with jazz, preferences for artists and venues, motivations to attend performances, and what people seek from their jazz experiences. Findings from the study were released in October 2011, and presented this month at international conferences for the Jazz Education Network and Association of Performing Arts Presenters. JAG envisioned using the study's findings as a catalyst for changing the practice of presenting and producing jazz in more meaningful ways.

The Continuing Innovation Stage II grant will allow JAG and a small group of yet-to-be-determined national partners to launch theory-to-practice experiments built on the study data. Anticipated outcomes for the new funding include (1) new models for engaging new and/or younger jazz audiences, (2) increased employment of local/regional jazz musicians, (3) creation of new language and images for specific market segments, and (4) pilot testing a new business model for making smaller-scale programming sustainable. Organizations interested in participating as a partner may view the Request for Proposal at www.jazzartsgroup.org.

In addition to the $120,000 grant, JAG has also been awarded $30,000 in general operating support and $2,350 to support a cohort learning circle that will convene in New York sometime in the future. Christy Farnbauch of Strategic Links will continue to serve as project director. JAG will also continue working with Alan Brown, principal at WolfBrown, and Jerry Yoshitomi of Meaning Matters as strategic advisors for the experiments during the 16-month grant period.

"We are extremely grateful to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for affording us this opportunity to take the research from theory into practice," says JAG Interim Executive Director, Dan Weiss. "We have the potential to increase the impact of jazz in communities across the country, both in terms of economics and education. Because of this grant, the important work that we started two years ago will advance even further."

"The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation was honored to support the Jazz Arts Group's work to coordinate national research for jazz audiences-an effort that produced enormously valuable information," said Ben Cameron, Arts Program Director, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. "We are delighted that we are now able to continue this support through our Continuing Innovation program, enabling them to test and implement the findings from that research. We believe this will create enormous impact for the larger jazz field and will help jazz organizations adopt more adventurous audience engagement activities over time."

"No one has done the research like JAG to guide us toward identifying and understanding jazz audiences," said John Clayton, Grammy award winning bassist, composer, and conductor. "This study is absolutely one of the most important for jazz. The team at JAG has accomplished something that is truly groundbreaking for jazz. It is up to all who will benefit from the work to take the important next steps and follow up with focused efforts to promote and cultivate all things jazz. Bravo!"

In addition to JAG, other grant recipients selected from a pool of 24 applicants include Adventure Stage Chicago (Chicago, IL), Columbia University's Center for Jazz Studies (New York, NY), Denver Center Theatre Company (Denver, CO), STREB Inc. (Brooklyn, NY), Theatre Bay Area (San Francisco, CA), Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (Washington, DC), and The Wooster Group (New York, NY).

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation:

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and the prevention of child maltreatment, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties.

About the Jazz Arts Group:

The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (JAG) is America's oldest not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to producing, performing and promoting jazz. JAG is the third largest performing arts organization in Columbus and consists of four focus areas: the Columbus Jazz Orchestra (CJO), one of the world's finest professional jazz orchestras; the Jazz Academy, JAG's extensive instructional programs educating both students and adults about jazz and American music; Inside Track, a new jazz and blues performance series produced at the historic Lincoln Theatre; and Affiliate Musicians, a program providing employment opportunities for professional musicians.

More Information: http://www.jazzartsgroup.org

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