In honor of the recent hugely successful New Orleans Jazz fest I thought it appropriate to inform you of the people and archive behind the scene. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Foundation was founded as a nonprofit in 1970.
Jazz Fest is much more than one of the premier music festivals in the world. It is a signature cultural event for its home city, rivaled only by Mardi Gras as a New Orleans calling card. A major showcase for the music, food and art that define Louisiana’s unique and varied culture, Jazz Fest is also a principal driver of our region’s economy with an annual impact of over $300 million. As the main fundraising event for the Foundation, Jazz Fest generates much of the revenue that allows the Foundation to pursue its mission of perpetuating the music and culture of Louisiana.
The Jazz and Heritage archive houses photos, videos, audio recordings, posters, signage, business records and other artifacts from Jazz Fest and all of the Foundation’s other programs and activities. A large portion of the collection is recorded Jazz Fest interviews with the primary creators of Louisiana’s unique culture. These materials are made available for scholarly and other types of research. The Archive also manages the Voluntary Photography at Jazz Fest program, coordinates exhibits in the Jazz & Heritage Gallery and manages a fellowship program to promote the use of (and develop new materials for) the Archive’s collection.
In my opinion, one of the more important contributions to the local music scene is their operation of a free after school music instruction program. They employ 8 of the city’s leading musicians to teach the fundamentals of jazz performance and theory. There are now more than 100 students each week. Now that is pretty cool!
They also have a long history of presenting top-level jazz concerts several times per year. With the opening of the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center, the Foundation has increased its concert programming to a minimum of one concert per month, and frequently more. For more information on the foundation or to donate please visit their website.
As an aside, I’m the proud owner of one of these Jazz Fest posters, and I love it!
Kathryn Smith, CDIA+ is the owner of Advanced Imaging Solutions, Inc.
AIS has been providing document and microfilm scanning services since 1998.
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