WVAS-FM Receives National Endowment for the Arts Grant; Supports Return of "Jazz on the Grass" Labor-Day Concert
By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU
The much anticipated return of the beloved Labor Day tradition of "Jazz on the Grass" (JOG) has been funded by a grant of more than $11,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The concert sponsor, Alabama State University’s WVAS 90.7 FM, received the grant on May 24.
WVAS Station Manager Candy Capel will serve as the project manager of the grant. She explained that the timing of the NEA's funding for the jazz-centered musical event is perfect.
"This funding came just in time for us to once again host the Labor Day event for Montgomery and the River Region," Capel said. "This longstanding Labor Day weekend tradition will be held on September 3, in the garden amphitheater at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, after a long absence due to numerous COVID-19 protocols. We are excited to renew and build back this acclaimed series as one of the events planned for ASU’s Labor Day Classic Weekend, and we are happy to do our part to ensure that the spirit of CommUniversity remains alive and well.” “Jazz on the Grass” is one of 1,130 proposals selected during the second round of the NEA’s “Grants for Arts Projects.” The grants for fiscal year 2023 total more than $31 million.
ONE OF NEA'S MANY NATIONWIDE ARTS PROJECTS
“The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to support a wide range of projects, including WVAS-FM’s ‘Jazz on the Grass,’ demonstrating the many ways the arts enrich our lives and contribute to healthy and thriving communities,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, NEA chairwoman. “These organizations play an important role in advancing the creative vitality of our nation and help to ensure that all people can benefit from the arts, culture, and design.”
ASU's Capel shared that without the NEA's support, it would have been difficult to revive the musical event.
“We are thrilled and grateful that the National Endowment for the Arts recognizes the significance of this long-running event and its positive impact upon our community,” said Capel.The concert will include performances by some of the state's finest jazz artists, including local and regional performers. The family-friendly event also will offer entertainment for the children and access to a diverse slate of vendors.
"We will also offer a targeted outreach to the Korean community which will include Korean artists and food providers," Capel said. "The day’s lineup will also include a reunion of the JOG All-Star Jazz Jam, primarily made up of regional African-American jazz artists as well as high school and college performers. JOG also provides opportunities for regional visual artists to display their works and to create new on-the-spot art during the event" she added.
For more information on the 2023 “Jazz on the Grass” event: WVAS 90.7 FM at 334-229-4708.