University of Arkansas wins $45,000 grant to study importance of collegiate jazz programs

Professor Jake Hertzog (left) and Justin R. Hunter of the University of Arkansas Music Department will lead a project focusing on the role of collegiate jazz programs within the jazz ecosystems of three U.S. cities. (Courtesy/University of Arkansas)

The University of Arkansas has been awarded a $45,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to fund a research project that will investigate the impact of university jazz programs on the broader musical and cultural landscapes in three U.S. cities.

The project will focus on Kansas City, Mo., Portland, Ore., and Atlanta, Ga., each which have varied and expansive jazz scenes and music ecosystems.

“We are thrilled to receive support from the NEA on this project — right now is a pivotal time for higher education, the music industry, and the evolving and important work on musical and cultural placemaking,” said professor Jake Hertzog, who will lead the study with Justin R. Hunter.

Hunter said that while the U.S. government does recognize the importance of jazz, there is no national strategy to support the form of art.

“This research also holds significance for communities, institutions and policymakers as it seeks to contribute to our understanding of jazz scenes and serve the arts community while providing avenues for future research in creative ecologies,” said Hunter.

The university’s project is one of 18 selected to receive NEA research grants in the arts in early 2024, with a total of more than $1 million allocated to support studies evaluating the arts’ value and impact across the U.S.