Jazz music is one of America's most valuable cultural traditions. Keeping this music alive is keeping our heritage alive. As a board member of New York City's Jazz Gallery, I am profoundly committed to this mission. Our purpose at the Jazz Gallery is to provide musicians and audiences a performance venue that encourages and facilitates artistic risk-taking while nurturing emerging talent in the jazz community.
During the dark hours of the 2008 financial crisis and ensuing recession years, like many arts organizations, the Jazz Gallery was challenged with meeting its modest budget by a withdrawal of its likewise challenged loyal supporters. I can remember the day when we first heard the NEA was going to step in and increase its grant at a time when everything else was decreasing. This, to us, represented a lifeline during a real challenge. Not just a lifeline for the Jazz Gallery, but a lifeline to a creative hub for one of America's most valuable cultural traditions.
The NEA's critical role during this difficult period was a catalytic event that allowed the Jazz Gallery to rebuild to its current vibrant state as an ecosystem of jazz creativity known across the world. One test of success is that in recent years, five artists associated with the Jazz Gallery have been awarded MacArthur Fellowships. We at the Jazz Gallery, our artists and our audiences are extremely grateful to the NEA for its extraordinary support during the financial crisis and continuing to this day.