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Jazz Arts Group awarded funds for continuing innovation by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

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by Mark Subel on January 23, 2012

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).

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