This April is the 10th Anniversary of Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM!) As always, there are many ways to commemorate this unique American art form at your museum.
Joann Stevens, program director for JAM Initiatives at the National Museum of American History (NMAH), shared information about the programs and resources available to help plan your Jazz Appreciation month event. “This year JAM celebrates 10 years of advancing appreciation of jazz as America’s original music. Smithsonian Affiliations has been a great partner in this mission. Let’s work to strengthen our relationship in 2011 and beyond. We invite you to order bulk copies of JAM posters for your programs and send us information to promote your JAM museum and community events on the JAM website, and connect with us via social media.”
JAM’s 2011 theme honors the history of overlooked musicians, “Women in Jazz: Transforming a Nation.” The programs at NMAH will tell the story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, and their beginnings at Piney Woods School in Mississippi, “the school that music built.” The Sweethearts gained global recognition as the nation’s first integrated female band, founded in 1937. Like many other women at the time, the Sweethearts confronted dual biases of gender and race and excelled during a period in history when many Southern blacks lived in slavery without chains and women were second class citizens. Another female jazz pioneer, Mary Lou Williams, is the face of this year’s celebrations; her portrait by Keith Henry Brown is the centerpiece for JAM’s poster.
You can learn more about programming on the program’s website, facebook page and follow JAM on twitter. And keep a lookout for a special webcast of a Latin jazz percussion workshop on April 7th. More details to come!
And don’t forget programming from a Smithsonian Affiliate in New York City, the Jazz Museum in Harlem. Their executive director, Loren Schoenberg, is once again offering to lead a special program for Affiliates. Learn more here.
To get you in a Jazz mood and begin your programming, check out NMAH’s recent tribute blog to Billy Taylor, Jazz’ Elder Statesman. Enjoy!