New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Center

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.

Funding Received: 2012
New Orleans, LA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
June 11, 2013

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation is renovating the building next door to its offices into a state of the art Jazz & Heritage Center. The new facility, recently given the official name of the “George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center” following a gift made by Jazz Fest founder George Wein, will house a music campus, performance hall, and community center. The George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center will create a place for New Orleans’ indigenous arts to be passed on to future generations of New Orleanians. Preserving New Orleans culture is at the heart of the Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s mission and activities, and the Jazz & Heritage Center will provide a dedicated space for this important work to take place. ArtPlace recently spoke to Jazz & Heritage Foundation Executive Director Don Marshall about the project.

Now that you are coming to the end of your ArtPlace grant period take a moment to think over the past year. What advice would you give to the new grantees? How would you encourage new grantees to leverage their ArtPlace grants for maximum effect?

First of all, congratulations to the new ArtPlace grantees! You are receiving much more than a monetary gift – there is a growing prestige that goes along with ArtPlace grants, and people will look at your project more closely when they hear that you’ve won this highly competitive award.

The flipside is that you’ve now been alerted to 53 other creative placemaking projects taking place across the country that have also been awarded an ArtPlace grant. And there are hundreds of organizations with ongoing projects that have received prior year awards. I would strongly suggest that you look around at the other grantees and think about how you might collaborate with organizations with which you share some sort of an affinity. It might make sense to organize geographically. Or to find an organization on the other side of the country that’s working in your particular field.

For us, it made sense to work with some of the other organizations in New Orleans receiving ArtPlace grants: first, to publicize the awards in the local media; second, to come together in formal and informal settings to discuss our projects, consider potential collaborations, and put them in the context of the revival of cultural spaces that is taking place across New Orleans. I’ve taken part in several panel discussions in the last year and I’m hopeful that they will lead to collaborative programming once our building is complete.

In the next year, we are looking at creating a city-wide arts education consortium to figure out how to better reach the city’s young people with arts education programming. Other ArtPlace grantees – like the Bell School and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra – will absolutely be invited to take part.

In November 2013, we’ll host a panel discussion focused on strategic planning for arts education in the greater New Orleans area. If possible, I would suggest that other ArtPlace grantees at least familiarize themselves with the other projects receiving awards and consider the potential for collaboration.