Jazz Road is a national initiative supporting jazz artists throughout the United States through expanded opportunities to tour.
Jazz Road is a program of our partners at South Arts, but artists and presenters from the M-AAA region are eligible to participate. The objective is for jazz artists residing in every part of the country to develop small (three-to-six site) tours. “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.”
Jazz Road aims to engage the full spectrum of jazz programmers and venues. This includes non-traditional or alternative spaces for jazz, clubs, performing arts centers, and established jazz programs or festivals. Jazz Road encourages the presenting of jazz in new ways, and bringing artists to underserved, isolated and rural areas to build audiences for jazz.
If you represent an organization that presents or programs jazz—or is interested in expanding their work to include jazz presenting—please complete this form. They are looking for presenters/programmers of all types, from jazz clubs to places of worship to performing arts centers to house concerts to non-traditional presenters, and communities from rural or isolated to urban.
Jazz Road offers touring subsidies to help artists make the leap from localized success to reach new audiences outside their home area, and also residency subsidies to help artists explore their work in a community outside their home area through new collaborations, performances, and experiences.
Designed for emerging and mid-career artists, Jazz Road Tours supports small, three- to six-site tours at an array of venue types, often in rural communities and other areas traditionally underserved by the genre.
This artist-centric grant program—designed to support approximately 50 tours each year—is made possible with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Grants generally range from $5,000 to $15,000.
South Arts is now accepting applications for the second cycle of Jazz Road Tours, offering grants for tours occurring between August 2020 and August 2021. Recipients will be able to use the funds to pay for necessary aspects of touring, including travel, lodging, meals, and artist fees.
“This year, we have simplified the application process for artists,” said Sara Donnelly, director of jazz with South Arts. “We recognize how challenging it can be for artists to gain footholds in new markets or secure engagements in parts of the country that rarely see touring jazz artists, and Jazz Road aims to make touring possible.”
Applications are now open and will be accepted on a rolling basis. Full guidelines, program information, and additional details are available here.
In October, Jazz Road announced the thirty-one jazz artists receiving nearly $360,000 to build tours across the country. Learn more about the recipients and their stops, especially here in the M-AAA region.
Jazz Road Creative Residencies will allow artists to spend multiple weeks in collaboration with a presenter and a community to develop/perform new work, foster new connections, and share resources.