Mesa Arts Center Receives NEA Grant to Support Jazz from A to Z Program

Mesa Arts Center Receives NEA Grant to Support Jazz from A to Z Program

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced today that Mesa Arts Center is one of 788 not-for-profit national, regional, state, and local organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. Mesa Arts Center is recommended for a $58,000 grant to support the Jazz from A to Z program. The 788 Art Works grants total $24.81 million and support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

Jazz from A to Z is a collaborative program between Mesa Arts Center; Mesa Public Schools (MPS); Arizona State University; and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Orchestra, orchestra leader Wynton Marsalis, and Education Department. Jazz from A to Z, which enters its third year for the 2012-2013 academic school year, enriches the historical and cultural knowledge of Mesa students and teachers with a cross-curricular study of both jazz and American history. Student and teacher participants will gain knowledge and skills through a focused study of jazz in clinics and workshops; demonstrate their understanding through performance, classroom instruction, project creation; and experience exemplary works of art in live form through a public performance. By creating a "community of jazz scholars,” the project spurs a deeper understanding of our nation's history and a meaningful appreciation of one of America's greatest cultural resources: jazz. The program is comprehensive and includes master classes for MPS junior high and high school jazz bands, a Band Director Academy for jazz instructors, workshops for teachers and students, a jazz festival in April 2013, a National History Day exhibit, a Young People’s Concert introducing elementary and middle school students to jazz music, a Regional Jazz Festival, and a public performance featuring Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at Mesa Arts Center. The program is expected to reach over 10,000 students and several hundred teachers.

Chairman Landesman said, “The arts should be a part of everyday life. Whether it’s seeing a performance, visiting a gallery, participating in an art class, or simply taking a walk around a neighborhood enhanced by public art, these grants are ensuring that, across the nation, the public is able to experience how art works.”

“We are extremely honored to be recognized by the NEA for a program that we are proud to offer. We are passionate about our desire to create partnerships that enrich the community, such as the ones that we have with ASU, Mesa Public Schools, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. The history of jazz is a reflection of our history as a nation. Through the NEA Jazz in Schools Curriculum and Essentially Ellington Program, we are able to provide tools that American history teachers and music educators can use with their students, while creating future jazz audiences.” Randall Vogel, Director of Theaters, Mesa Arts Center.

The NEA received 1,624 eligible applications under the Art Workscategory for this round of funding, requesting more than $78 million in funding. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at

The Mesa Arts Center, owned and operated by the City of Mesa, is a unique, architecturally stunning facility located in the heart of downtown Mesa. Arizona's largest arts center is home to four theaters, five art galleries, and 14 art studios. Guests, patrons, and students come to Mesa Arts Center to enjoy the finest live entertainment and performances, world-class visual art exhibitions, and outstanding arts education classes. The facility is an architectural showpiece and a destination for visitors to the Phoenix area. The Mesa Arts Center mission is to inspire people through engaging arts experiences that are diverse, accessible, and relevant. For more information, visit