In October of 2009, Lonnie and Ocie Davis established Jazz Arts Initiative (now JazzArts Charlotte) with the purpose of supporting “America’s classical music”, jazz, in the city of Charlotte. The organization became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2010, with staff in place and an active five-member Board of Directors integral to the organization’s initial success.
JazzArts Charlotte’s first program was the JazzArts Music Stage at Festival In the Park in Fall 2010. This program was important in developing musician support, bringing local and regional musicians together for the first time to perform for the four-day free event. Within six months, JazzArts Charlotte also launched its first educational program, the All-Star Jazz Youth Ensemble. This program (renamed the Jazz Youth Ensembles + Workshops) began with five local students, and now serves over 40 middle and high school students in the Charlotte community. In April of 2011, the JAZZ ROOM monthly concert series kicked off, and has been offering jazz monthly ever since, now reaching over 800 patrons each month.
Since its inception, the organization has been widely embraced by the Charlotte community, and is now one of the top emerging arts organizations in the region. For more JazzArts Charlotte history, enjoy a timeline below and take a look at “A Love Supreme”, from Charlotte Magazine 2013.
Locally, JazzArts Charlotte has built relationships with arts organizations and educational entities across Charlotte, providing partnerships and support – Blumenthal Performing Arts, UNC Charlotte Department of Arts + Architecture, Charlotte Ballet, Charlotte Symphony, Arts & Science Council, Festival in the Park, Johnson C. Smith University, Mint Museum, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, and more. JazzArts Charlotte is proud to be a member of several local, state-wide and national organizations.