HOW IT BEGAN...
What started as a day-long festival honoring Jazz History Month in 2011 has evolved into a black founded, independent and thriving community-based nonprofit organization that serves thousands of individuals annually.
Originally housed under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga (CFGC), the popularity of the original jazz festival, our namesake of Jazzanooga, and the support of regional corporations and foundations, propelled us to acquire our independence from CFGC in 2015 by acquiring our non-profit status and expand our service offerings to address the lack of diverse arts and cultural programming in the region.
With growing participation in our festival, local performances, community involvement, and an ever-increasing need for cultural and artistic support, we have initiated a second, larger evolution of our mission.
In late 2016, Jazzanooga began seeking solutions to address the art disparities in our city's underserved communities by conducting a series of informal community discussions. We also hosted a half day mini-conference focused on diversity and inclusion in Chattanooga's arts community which included a panel of local & regional arts leaders discussing ways to promote greater audience development and program inclusion.
It was evident, after reviewing the findings, that not only was the need for this type of conversation long overdue, but more discussions and strategies were needed to immediately address the lack of cultural arts programming and creative representation of diverse backgrounds in our communities.
Jazzanooga created and implemented an extensive strategic plan that placed a special emphasis on actively engaging our underserved community members by providing an array of community arts programming that creates new opportunities for creative experimentation and community transformation.
Jazzanooga began to envision itself as a multifaceted cultural institution that would strive to revitalize and sustain Chattanooga's cultural arts heritage through three linked intervention initiatives; Cultural Preservation, Community Education, and Performance.
The expansion of our services, providing an array of cultural arts programming and initiating new opportunities for creative experimentation and community transformation, we were extremely fortunate to garner local and national attention for our arts and cultural programming.
As we continue to evolve aesthetically and programmatically to better serve our community, the organization’s message and brand must evolve as well. We have taken great pride in working directly in the community and giving voice and opportunities to those that may been overlooked and underserved.
We are proud to share that we will continue our mission and vision with the name of R.I.S.E. (Responsive Initiatives for Social Empowerment). This name is more reflective of the work we do and more aspirational - like the people, communities, and the city we serve.