Philanthropic organizations in Chicago have been organizing themselves in a very interesting way when it comes to providing support for jazz, creating the Chicago Jazz Partnership in an effort to draw in new audiences for this music and find innovative ways to support the art form. Chicago Tribune arts critic Howard Reich reports:
Two years ago, several of Chicago’s most famous corporations and foundations dared to invent a new model for funding the arts.
In a dramatic move, they joined forces to create an informal philanthropic consortium dedicated to supporting music. This meant, in effect, that each of these big-league organizations risked losing some of the high visibility — or the “branding” power, in marketers’ terms — that accrues with being the sole or lead underwriter of an arts event.
More radical still, they decided to pour their resources not into safe and conventional musical outfits, such as symphony orchestras and opera companies, but into a less formally organized music that long has been an orphan when it comes to funding: jazz.
Since then, the aptly named Chicago Jazz Partnership has funneled approximately $1.5 million in cash (and nearly as much in in-kind contributions, such as production costs and musician airfares) into a music that’s internationally identified with this city.
Granted, that may not seem like a lot of money when compared with the funding of institutions such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which has an operating budget of $57.6 million and an endowment of $202 million. But it’s huge in jazz, a music that somehow has flourished for most of a century on nightclub cover charges and bar tabs, but with scant institutional support.
Putting on events such as the ‘Made in Chicago’ jazz series (now in its third season) has really helped to draw new audiences to jazz performances and counter misconceptions that jazz is an elitist art by drawing large and diverse audiences. The Chicago Jazz Partnership was originally slated to last for three years, and the fact that this is the third season puts the future of this organization in flux.
- Why I’m a jazz player – post from Bill Harrison
- Jazz legend Johnny Frigo – 1916-2007
- Basses in jazz art paintings from Ann deLorge
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