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Media Advisory: Smithsonian Announces $2.5 Million Jazz Endowment by LeRoy Neiman Foundation

JAM Celebration Includes Dedication of Jazz Cafe and Installation of Neiman’s “Big Band” Painting
March 24, 2015

WHAT: April is Jazz Appreciation Month and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
              will launch the celebration with a special announcement of the LeRoy Neiman Foundation’s
              donation of a $2.5 million endowment towards the expansion of jazz programming.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 31; 9 a.m.

WHERE: National Museum of American History
                 Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th streets N.W.

WHO: Sue Fruchter, deputy director, National Museum of American History
            Steven Bond, president, LeRoy Neiman Foundation
            Amy Bartow-Melia, associate director, National Museum of American History          
            John Edward Hasse, curator, National Museum of American History

Artist LeRoy Neiman (1921–2012) was best known for colorful paintings and illustrations that presented scenes of sports, culture and entertainment. Among his work is a distinctive body of paintings of American jazz legends and music of the 1950s to 1960s. He established the LeRoy Neiman Foundation in 1986 and donated more than $20 million to art institutions and his legacy continues with financial support to the museum’s jazz programming, including this $2.5 million donation.

In addition, the foundation is donating Neiman’s painting, “Big Band,” an epic jazz mural he considered as one of the greatest in his career. The painting is 9-by-13 feet and features 18 iconic jazz musicians. It will be unveiled at the entrance of the Jazz Cafe.

The museum will also announce the detailed calendar of activities for April, including a special performance in commemoration of Billy Strayhorn’s centennial by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the museum’s big band in residence.