Sunday, May 9, 2010


Good morning.

“And the beat goes on……………………..”

A Venue Specifically for Jazz  -- and other Dedicated Places and Stuff I’d Like to See.

A SF Chronicle piece  last week announced a new 700 seat building dedicated just to Jazz in San Francisco. Great. Jazz has always been prominent in the City and jazz as an artistic medium has special needs in terms of a venue. And this one will be spectacular. A great addition to the SF cultural landscape. The $60 million stand alone building, paid for largely by board members of SF Jazz and an anonymous patron, will break ground sometime next year.

This item got me thinking: There are lots of areas where special arts interests could use their own places – be those real bricks & mortar or virtual spaces. Here are just a few I would like to see:

1. A Dedicated San Francisco Dance Center: I wrote about this last year.  San Francisco has 200+ resident dance groups, second only to New York. Every major dance company tours here as well. Dance has very special stage needs including size and special flooring. The number of venues that are even satisfactory for dance performances are few and far between in the City – with precious little time available for even the larger dance companies to book for performances. Certainly not nearly enough to meet the demand.  How wonderful it would be for a stand alone, dedicated dance venue in San Francisco. I can tell you it would be booked solid from day one.

2. After school arts centers. Every community would be enhanced if it had a dedicated facility for the provision of arts - practice & rehearsal space, room for training programs and creativity options for K-12 students after school and on weekends – open all year long.

3. On the virtual side – there are several areas we could use a dedicated website presence.

a. Federal funding opportunities - across all the various government agencies. One place to go to access all the federal government money that might be available to arts organizations and arts programs. Have to be comprehensive and thorough. Good NEA project?

b. A listing of cuts to arts funding. Both state allocations (easy – NASAA’s got these) – combined with a central listing of cuts to all local arts funding programs too (government and foundations) all across the country - so we knew who was being hit hardest and the prognosis for the future. We get this information piece meal, if at all. 

c. A centralized clearinghouse of nonprofit oriented arts blogs – sample, browse, subscribe / unsubscribe all in one place.

d. A clearinghouse of current professional development opportunities -- trainings, webinars, seminars, workshops and courses being offered in different regions and metro areas across the country, by all kinds of different providers, every month. What, where, when, offered by whom, targeted to whom, and how much. Updated constantly. Would make it a lot easier to access what was available.

When it’s finished the new SF Jazz Center will owe its existence to any number of key players, but no one more than Randall Kline, the founder of SF Jazz some 28 years ago -- for accomplishments like this are, as often as not, the result of one person with both vision and passion; someone who sees the need and thinks it important enough to push to fill it, and then simply never gives up. Tenacious dreamers (sounds like the name of a new Rap Artist) – and the arts are full of them, thank God. One person not only can, but often does, make the difference. Maybe there are some true believers and committed souls out there for some of the other things on my list, or on yours.

Have a great week.

Don’t Quit