From South Arts –
In partnership with Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Mellon Foundation, the national initiative supports jazz artists with grants of up to $15,000 to take their work on the road
South Arts is pleased to announce the next cycle of Jazz Road Tours—an initiative that supports approximately 50 jazz artists each year in their efforts to build tours to communities across the nation. This artist-centric grant program puts funds directly in the hands of jazz artists, allowing them to tour as they see fit. Rooted in the concept of equitable pay, these grants make sure artists are compensated for their time and expertise.
“America has always had a unique relationship with jazz and its practitioners,” said Drew Tucker, Director of Jazz with South Arts. “While the culture has thrived through the contribution of brilliant minds that are shaping the genre, the compensation for jazz artists has not always kept pace with the innovation. Along with our partners, South Arts is working to bridge that gap with the Jazz Road program.”
Jazz Road Tours is part of South Arts’ national Jazz Road initiative, coordinated in partnership with their five fellow regional arts organizations: Arts Midwest, Mid America Arts, Mid-Atlantic Arts Alliance, New England Foundation for the Arts, and the Western States Arts Federation. Through Jazz Road, South Arts provides funds, tools, and resources for artists to explore their work through tours and residencies.
Jazz Road Tours grants range from $5,000 to $15,000, funding the artists directly to cover a portion of the eligible tour expenses including artist fees, travel, housing, meals, backline, road/sound/tour management, and costs related to tour coordination and promotion. The Jazz Road Tours program is designed to help artists earn a living wage while on the road.
Since launching in 2018, Jazz Road Tours has supported 137 artists with $1.8M in funding, touching hundreds of communities across the nation. This new round of funding, with application cycles through 2026, will double those numbers.
“Jazz Road is rooted in equitable pay for artists,” said d Joy Young, PhD, Vice President of Program with South Arts, “and we know that many jazz musicians are still recovering from financial loss in the wake of the pandemic. South Arts is excited to continue supporting musicians who are reconsidering or rediscovering new ways for jazz to touch communities.”
Jazz Road Tours is intended to support artists who have not yet gained a foothold in the increasingly competitive, yet underfunded, world of jazz touring. This program aims to close the gap between what an artist deserves to be paid and what a presenter—especially one outside of the well-established, major venues and cities—can afford, allowing artists to pay themselves equitably especially when venues are unable to do so.
Jazz Road is made possible with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from the Mellon Foundation. Additional components of Jazz Road will open within the next year.
Applications to Jazz Road Tours will be accepted on a regular basis through 2026 with multiple deadlines per year. The first deadline is December 1, 2022, with additional deadlines published on South Arts’ website. To learn more about Jazz Road, view previous recipients, and learn about funding opportunities, visit southarts.org.