Today SFJAZZ is launching Are You Listening, for the jazz community to engage with one another and to contribute their thoughts, perspectives and financial support for the music. With Are You Listening, we want to create an online space for the types of conversations that are going to take place in the SFJAZZ Center itself," said Kevin Causey, SFJAZZ Director of Development.
The SFJAZZ Center will officially open its doors during the week of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2013. In recognition of his birthday, Are You Listening opens with musicians from around the San Francisco Bay Area presenting Dr. King's speech On the Importance of Jazz" (copy of the speech can be found here), which he delivered at the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1964. Artists who participated include John Handy, Rebeca Mauleón (both past SFJAZZ Beacon Award recipients), Marcus Shelby, Meklit Hadero, Jaz Sawyer, Terrence Brewer, to name a few. The SFJAZZ Center's transparent design aims to form a seamless connection with the outside community, a meeting point in which jazz enthusiasts can discuss and engage with the music.
Likewise, Are You Listening encourages the active conversation about jazz and stimulates young minds (and old) into thinking or rethinking the place of this art form in our country, today. SFJAZZ has the remarkable opportunity to engage with our community to ensure that jazz has a home and that all are welcome to it. Within and beyond these walls, our mission is to continue the legacy of an art form dedicated to the creative spirit," added Rebeca Mauleón, SFJAZZ Director of Education.
The initial launch also features intimate portraits of McCoy Tyner, Savion Glover and Rebeca Mauleón sharing their thoughts on the the music that has shaped their lives. Additional artist videos will be posted on an ongoing basis. Visitors to the site are encouraged to submit their own thoughts on what jazz means to them and extend the conversation their friends and networks. Once a week, a user-submitted response will be selected to receive a $25 gift card from iTunes. We wanted to create a space that is open to a diversity of opinions on the music, and whatever unfolds on the site will inform some of what we do with the SFJAZZ Center," said Barrett Shaver, Membership Director. In addition, Are You Listening also provides visitors a chance to directly make a donation to the SFJAZZ Center.
Designed by award-winning architect Mark Cavagnero, the SFJAZZ Center will be the first concert hall of its kind in the western United States, featuring 35,000 square feet of performance and rehearsal spaces, learning lab, café, retail shop, box office and administrative offices, all within a transparent structure built to LEED standards.
SFJAZZ, founded in 1983, is the largest nonprofit presenter of jazz and world music in America. SFJAZZ presents more than 100 concerts a year to over 100,000 fans and is dedicated to advancing the art form of jazz and cultivating new jazz audiences through artistic and educational programming, including: The San Francisco Jazz Festival, SFJAZZ Spring Season, SFJAZZ Collective, SFJAZZ Summerfest, SFJAZZ Education, SFJAZZ Membership and SFJAZZ Hotplate, a monthly nightclub series featuring the Bay Area's best musicians paying tribute to jazz legends.