MY ART STORY by

Jerome Lee Washington

Las Vegas
Nevada

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Man playing bass in the desert.

Jerome Lee Washington in Desert Field Summit Valley, California. Photo courtesy of artist

As a musician who has been a part of the arts scene for more than 40 years around the planet, I have long realized the gift and blessings of music in our lives. As a child on Long Island, New York, I attended a junior high school music assembly that featured a jazz band, the first one that I had ever seen live. I became inspired by the band’s bass guitar player, who took a solo during the song “Pennies From Heaven” that put the idea of music for a lifetime into my mind.

Also, the junior high school and high school field trips to Lincoln Center in New York City to listen to chamber music ensembles were absolutely stellar, and they pushed me to become a better upright acoustic bass player during my time with my school district’s orchestras. I learned that the chamber music ensembles that I’d witnessed were indeed funded through the NEA, and without that funding I would have likely not heard those great ensembles.

I have been fortunate to have played and taught music on different continents and islands around the world. To have played music with musicians from different parts of the planet has been a wonderfully rewarding journey that I will continue to travel.

I am convinced that the work and the efforts of the NEA have had a profound and positive impact on the arts in the U.S.

"Time Gone Away" by Jerome Lee Washington (audio)