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Jazz Road Grants From South Arts Offer Direct Support For Touring Jazz Artists

Jazzed Magazine • News • May 15, 2019

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South Arts is now accepting applications for the newly-launched Jazz Road Tours program, offering grants of up to $15,000 to support tours by emerging and mid-career jazz artists. Artists can apply for funds to build tours that include three to six sites, with an emphasis on bringing jazz to rural, isolated, and underserved parts of the country.

This national program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is led by South Arts in partnership with the five other U.S. Regional Arts Organizations (Arts Midwest, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Western Arts Alliance/WESTAF).

“We aim to make jazz touring possible for many artists and bands to reach hundreds of new communities per year,” said Sara Donnelly, director of jazz with South Arts. “For many artists, building a financially viable tour can be nearly impossible, especially if they want to reach audiences in locations that rarely experience live jazz. With Jazz Road, we are able to help artists bridge that financial gap, and bring live jazz to new audiences.”

The first cycle of Jazz Road funding will support tours occurring between October 2019 and September 2020, with additional cycles to be announced later this year. Artists funded will use the funds to pay for necessary aspects of touring, including travel, lodging, meals, and artist fees. “Ensuring that artists are paid adequately for their work, as are other professionals, is a key component of Jazz Road,” continued Donnelly.

To apply, artists must submit information about themselves and any other artists in their ensemble, samples of their work, the structure of the tour, and letters of intent countersigned by the performance venues. Artists living anywhere in the U.S. may apply. A peer panel will review all of the applicants using the criteria of artistic excellence and merit of the proposed tour to recommend funding.

“Jazz Road is centered around the artists,” continued Donnelly. “We are offering jazz artists funds directly to perform their work and develop tours. In the world of arts funding, grants will often go to an organization to build programming; we are turning that model around by giving control directly to artists themselves.”

Applications for the first round of Jazz Road Tours are due by August 1, 2019. Artists selected for funding will be informed in September. Full guidelines, program information, and additional details are available on and

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