Jazz Appreciation Month at the Smithsonian Explores Jazz and Justice

The Argus Fund Is Lead Sponsor

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will celebrate the ninth annual Jazz Appreciation Month in April with numerous events, including performances, talks and family activities in venues across Washington, D.C. More information and a full schedule will be available at http://smithsonianjazz.org early this year.

In coordination with the museum’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Greensboro lunch counter sit-in this year, JAM 2010 will offer a variety of public discussions, tools and music-oriented programs to highlight the role jazz music and artists have played in influencing social justice and freedom of expression in the United States and around the world.

The 2010 JAM lead sponsor is The Argus Fund, which is donating $150,000 in support the concerts, talks, dance and film events during JAM. Founded in 2007, The Argus Fund is a private family foundation directed by Mark and Rachel Dibner. The organization has a broad mission that allows it to fund a diverse palette of programs nationally and internationally. It has provided grants relating to the arts and humanities, including jazz education programs at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and other programs focusing on peaceful coexistence, humanitarian endeavors and environmental and conservation initiatives.

“It is with a great sense of privilege, legacy and satisfaction that The Argus Fund takes on the lead sponsorship role for Jazz Appreciation Month at the museum,” said Mark Dibner. “We eagerly anticipate an enjoyable and prolific association with the Smithsonian Institution and our fellow sponsors. Indeed, we are honored through our participation to be able to underscore the profound significance and historic position jazz occupies as America’s singular, indigenous musical art form, most especially as it relates to this year’s exploration of jazz and justice.”

The Herb Alpert Foundation, the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation, the National Park Service and BMI are other longstanding sponsors of JAM.

“Jazz is a truly American style of music that continues to play an important role in our heritage,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “Through the Smithsonian’s Jazz Appreciation Month activities, we will highlight jazz and how the genre has an important function in fostering justice and democracy.”

The museum launched JAM in 2001 as an annual event that pays tribute to jazz both as a historic and living American art form. It has since grown to include celebrations in all 50 states and 40 other countries. In celebrating JAM, the museum joins with a diverse group of organizations, institutions, corporations, associations and federal agencies that have provided financial and in-kind support, and organized jazz programs and outreach of their own.

The Smithsonian offers the world’s most comprehensive set of jazz programming, and the National Museum of American History is home to the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and jazz collections that include 100,000 pages of Duke Ellington’s unpublished music and such objects as Ella Fitzgerald’s famous red dress, Dizzy Gillespie’s angled trumpet, John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” manuscript and Benny Goodman’s clarinet. To learn more about the museum, visit https://americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian information the public may call (202) 633-1000 or (202) 633-5285 (TTY).
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