South Arts Hires Sara Donnelly to Launch New National Jazz Program

From Ivan Schustak, Communications Director, South Arts –

South Arts has hired veteran arts administrator Sara Donnelly to develop and launch a new national program supporting jazz artists through expanded opportunities to tour. Donnelly, hailing from Washington, D.C., brings decades of experience as a jazz advocate, administrator, presenter and consultant.

As ‘Director, Jazz,’ Donnelly will oversee the forthcoming program Jazz Road. This initiative, 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), will offer support for jazz artists to tour to new communities around the country.

“This will be a truly artist-centric program to support jazz,” said Donnelly. “Over the next few months, we will hold meetings in each region to hear what resources artists most need to increase their ability to tour, while reaching new locales and listeners.”

Donnelly is an experienced arts administrator and jazz specialist. She has held grantmaking positions in the national jazz and arts funding arenas, including with the National Endowment for the Arts (Jazz Fellowships, Multi-Music Presenters); National Jazz Service Organization (Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest National Jazz Network); Association of Performing Arts Professionals (Continuing Education/Arts Partners); and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (Jazz Next, French-American Jazz Exchange, Jazz Touring Network).

She has consulted for the DC Jazz Festival, launching DCJazzPrix, the festival’s inaugural competition recognizing and awarding emerging, excellent jazz bands from across the U.S. She has also co-produced concerts for Transparent Productions in Washington, D.C. and Jazz at the Johns Hopkins Club in Baltimore. Donnelly is a founding board member of CapitalBop, Inc in Washington, D.C.

For additional information about South Arts and to stay informed about the forthcoming jazz program, please visit and follow South Arts on social media.

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