Introducing BJA Member Grants

The Baltimore Jazz Alliance has sponsored and cosponsored many different projects over its 16-plus years: 3 CDs, the Saxophone Colossi, the Jazz Composers Showcase, the BJA Big Band, the Youth Jazz Congress, the Jazz for Kids educational programs, the Baltimore Realbook, various Jazz Appreciation Month celebrations, the Baltimore Jazz Fest, the Madonnari Arts Festival, Summer Music Moves, the Baltimore Jazz Conference, and much more. Each has been very successful in its own way, and we are extremely proud to have helped to bring these projects to life, enriching the Baltimore jazz scene with each one. Whether they were led fully by the BJA, or in partnership with other organizations, we have strived to be inclusive, diverse, and artistically excellent, and thus to bring value to the jazz community. But all along, one voice has been missing from these efforts — yours.

Starting with our new fiscal year (July 2020), BJA invites you — our members — to engage with us directly to support your vision of creative possibility in the Baltimore jazz scene. We will continue to do what we think we do well, and will continue to partner with other organizations when we see opportunities to help. But we are also committed to helping our members realize their ideas for a better, stronger, jazz community.

What does that mean? Very simply, our members — musicians and listeners alike — are eligible to apply to the BJA for financial support for any project that contributes to or enhances the Baltimore jazz scene in any way. This might mean, for example, helping to pay for recording for a debut CD; it could mean helping to fund a special performance or series; it could be buying instruments for a struggling music education program, or bringing in a guest artist to teach aspiring jazz students; it could even be helping to fund a jazz-themed mural, or a book of jazz-related photos. We want to hear what you think would have a positive impact on Baltimore jazz, and if we agree, and are able, we want to help.

Of course, the BJA is a small organization, and our pockets are not deep. It’s impossible to say that we will be able to fund every request that comes our way, nor that we’ll be able to fund most projects in their entirety. As requests come in, we will have to weigh them in terms of impact, relevance, and potential for success, as well as their cost in relation to our available budget. Without a doubt, there will be projects that we would like to fund, but that are beyond our means. Even those, though, we hope to hear about; our support need not be strictly financial, and there may be cases where we can help by finding partners, collaborating on grant requests to larger organizations, and even just by helping with promotion or logistics. 

We are excited about this new program, and not only for the benefits it will bring to our grant recipients, but for the benefit it brings to all BJA members. Your support has always been extremely important to our mission and to everything we do to further that mission, but now, you will be able to see your membership dues directly helping other members and their visions for our shared jazz community — a true jazz alliance that can only bring us further together in our love of the music and culture that we celebrate every day.

For more details on the criteria and process for application, please visit https://www.baltimorejazz.com/bja-member-grants/, and as always, we thank our members, and invite anyone else to join the BJA today!