$15,000 gift will celebrate jazz at the Basie – “Where It Belongs”

RED BANK, NJ - The Count Basie Theatre, a recognized, not for profit 501 (c)(3) organization, announced today that it has received a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works award, the first NEA grant awarded directly to the theatre in its history.

In celebrating its namesake, the Basie will use the $15,000 award to help produce a series of programs and activities celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month. Jazz-related lectures, films and biopics will take place throughout April. On May 19th, the celebration will continue with a jazz-centric edition of the Count Basie Theatre’s NO SHUSH! kid’s concert series, starring Louis Prima Jr. and The Witnesses, as well as the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, led by conductor Joe Muccioli, who also directs the Jazz Arts Project at the Basie’s Performing Arts Academy.

“This award allows us the opportunity to present a number of unique jazz offerings,” said Izzy Sackowitz, the Basie’s Vice President of Operations. “In April, we’ll celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with films, lectures and other programming, and we’re looking forward to continuing in May with No Shush!, Mr. Prima and other special guests.”

The NEA’s Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields. In its first 50 years, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded more than $5 billion in grants to recipients in every state and U.S. jurisdiction, the only arts funder in the nation to do so.

“We are honored and delighted to be recognized by the NEA and to receive this grant,” said Tom Widener, Chairman of the Count Basie Theatre’s Board of Directors.  “The grant will aid the Count Basie Theatre significantly in its mission to expand the scope of our programming and our commitment to the arts and education.”  

The NEA announcement revealed a total of more than $27.6 million in its first funding round of fiscal year 2016, including the Basie’s $15,000 award. Proceeds from an evening performance by Prima, Jr. on May 19th and a donation from the Gia Maione Prima Foundation – named for Prima’s late mother - will match the NEA gift.

“We are excited to partner with The Count Basie Theatre Foundation supporting its commitment to music education in Ocean and Monmouth Counties,” said Anthony J. Sylvester, Managing Member of the Gia Maione Prima Foundation. 

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The arts are part of our everyday lives – no matter who you are or where you live – they have the power to transform individuals, spark economic vibrancy in communities, and transcend the boundaries across diverse sectors of society. Supporting projects like this from Count Basie Theatre offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”