Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Jazz Education Network to Receive Art Works Grant

Financial reward will be used to develop Jazz Curriculum Project

Jelly Roll Morton

Jazz Education Network (JEN) will receive one of 817 financial awards issued nationally to nonprofits, according to NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa. Of 1,547 eligible applications submitted in 2012, JEN organization was among those selected to receive a portion of the $80 million of public funding set aside for Art Works beneficiaries. Grants issued this year total $26.3 million in value, and have been given to organizations representing 13 creative disciplines; these grants are intended to support the work of organizations encouraging civic engagement and community development through the arts and creative education. A list of suggested funding recipients can be found on the NEA website at

The $40,000 NEA Art Works grant will be used to develop and promote the Traditional Jazz Curriculum Project, sponsored by JEN. This package, the first of its kind, provides high school and college educators with a basic curriculum for teaching traditional jazz styles to students, including New Orleans jazz and related genres. No single program has yet been designed to formalize traditional jazz curriculum, despite increased interest in academic jazz programs; this project will specifically aim to better expose students to both the music of traditional jazz greats (Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver among others) and of more contemporary jazz artists. Ultimately, promotion of the program is intended to help revitalize interest in traditional jazz through the inclusion and education of young scholars and musicians. Programming has already been piloted in accordance with the National Standards for Music Education. Components of this Kit include arrangements, transcriptions, lead sheets, sample tracks, instructional videos, lesson plans, resource and styles guides, among other things.

JEN Co-founder and former president, Mary Jo Papich, has expressed her gratitude and excitement upon receipt of the grant; she confirms that the efforts of project director Dave Robinson have helped guarantee the project will be a success that teachers and students can benefit from. Robinson, who founded the Traditional Jazz Educators Network (TJEN), echoed these sentiments and said, “This Project will give today’s educators and students the tools they need to get involved in this aspect of music.”

In observing NEA terms and realizing the Project, JEN must match the value of the grant via funding from outside sources and is currently seeking support from individuals and foundations. Formed in 2009, this organization is committed to promoting education and performance while also culturing new jazz audiences while fulfilling its mission to strengthen the jazz community. In addition to presenting scholarships to jazz students and educators, featuring student compositions, promoting outreach programs, providing internship and mentoring opportunities, and collecting music and instruments to be donated, JEN also hosts an annual international Conference. To learn more, please visit the Jazz Education Network website at JazzEdNet.

According to Shigekawa, “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States. Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement, or innovation, these projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable opportunities for the public to engage with the arts.”

Originally Published