SOURCE: Jazz Bakery

Jazz Bakery

January 18, 2011 12:05 ET

Jazz Bakery Club Finds New Home in Culver City

Receives $2 Million Grant From Annenberg Foundation, and Formalizes Exclusive Agreement for Downtown Culver City Space

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - January 18, 2011) - The Jazz Bakery, a Los Angeles cultural icon in search of a new home, announced Thursday that it had received a $2 million seed grant from the Annenberg Foundation, as well as the Culver City Redevelopment Agency's approval of an exclusive negotiation agreement with the non-profit organization to develop a prime downtown property, valued at more than $1 million, as a new home for jazz in L.A. 

Still early in the process of finalizing plans and cost estimates, this public-private support gives the Bakery a head start on further fundraising and development of the project, including community amenities and a reserve fund to support future operations in a permanent space. 

Presenting a mix of world-class jazz and performances by up-and-coming artists for 16 years at Culver City's Helms Bakery complex, the Jazz Bakery lost its lease in June 2009. Since then the Jazz Bakery has been presenting stellar musicians in "Movable Feast" events at a variety of arts and cultural centers across Los Angeles.

The Annenberg grant, along with approval of the exclusive negotiation agreement by Culver City and the Jazz Bakery board of directors, is a giant step toward a new, permanent home for the Bakery in the heart of the city, next to the Kirk Douglas Theatre on Washington Boulevard. The goal is to open by the end of 2012. 

Preliminary plans include a main Bakery Performance Space with state-of-the-art acoustics and technical facilities and comfortable seating for 200-plus. The new Bakery is envisioned to also include a second, smaller theater, providing new opportunities to present other adventurous forms of music, film and video, poetry and more from the local arts community. The new Bakery envisions a lobby café/ bakery and wine bar, open to the public during day and evening hours. The new Bakery also plans to include a lobby art and photography gallery, with long-term plans for development of a virtual museum of West Coast jazz. 

Ruth Price, president and artistic director of the Bakery, said, "Thanks to multiple generations of fans, jazz has played a central role in the cultural development of Los Angeles. Now the Annenberg Foundation, through its generosity and commitment to our cultural life, has given us the opportunity to create an enduring jazz legacy for Los Angeles, and with the support of the Culver City Redevelopment Agency, we have a place to build a home for jazz that will last long into the future. 

"Fans and musicians are looking forward to our reopening because they know the Bakery is a special place where art comes before commerce. We intend to once again present the best in all forms of jazz, seven nights a week, 52 weeks a year. In keeping with our non-profit mission, we'll keep ticket prices affordable and the music accessible. We'll also maintain this special place for young fans, inviting students and young performers to continue building the next generation of jazz audiences and artists. I am so pleased and feel so lucky to play a small part in building this as a permanent part of our cultural landscape."

The seed grant from the Annenberg Foundation was given as capital funding, with a provision for some funds to be available for operating expenses during this new transition and development phase. Wallis Annenberg, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation, said, "The Annenberg Foundation is pleased to support the Jazz Bakery and its leadership at this crucial time. And we look forward to seeing their plans develop."

The Bakery will look to individual donors, other foundations, corporations and local government -- as well as its strong base of loyal fans -- to support the development and building of this new home. In the past, the non-profit Bakery earned 80 percent of its annual budget of nearly $1 million from ticket sales. The balance came from grants and donations -- and a uniquely philanthropic landlord, Walter Marks Jr, known affectionately as "Happy Wally." Marks also subsidized the Bakery's rent, allowing for low overhead and freedom from the threat of dislocation. Around the time of his death in mid-2009, the Bakery lost its lease at the Helms complex, and was forced to move out. 

The negotiation agreement with Culver City puts the Bakery in the heart of a city brimming with arts and cultural organizations, with a vision of economic development fueled by the support of that community. Richard Posell, a Bakery board member and an attorney who helped negotiate the agreement, said, "The Bakery could not be more fortunate than to be welcomed by this great city with its commitment to the arts. They understand the Bakery as a cultural icon, and having played all over LA since June 2009, we can't wait to return to the city where we first began."

Culver City councilman Scott Malsin added, "I'm very excited at the prospect of the Jazz Bakery returning to Culver City. It will add a great deal to the City's vital cultural scene. Welcome home!"

The Bakery also expects to benefit from its new location, next door to the Kirk Douglas Theatre, part of the Center Theatre Group. Allan Burns, a longtime board member of both organizations, said, "The opportunity for expanded partnership with the Kirk Douglas and Center Theatre Group is a great strength of this project. It puts us in company with the best."

Southern California investor and Bakery board member Joe Walker said, "The Annenberg grant is a significant vote of support. They are helping us create a really exciting opportunity to solidify the stature of jazz amongst the arts -- for jazz supporters to participate through contributions and naming opportunities -- with the creation of a unique and permanent venue for jazz."

Board member Elyse Montiel, an Oakland resident and NYC native, sees the plan as "an opportunity to build the kind of presence for jazz that we see at Lincoln Center in New York and in the great new $70 million center SF Jazz is building in downtown San Francisco. This is Los Angeles' opportunity to create the future for jazz."

The Jazz Bakery, a California non-profit corporation, was created by Price in 1992. Its mission is to preserve and promote jazz in all of its forms and to nurture the next generation of jazz audiences and artists. It has accomplished this over the years by presenting the best in live jazz -- from bebop to blues, from big bands to soloists, acoustic to electronic, from giants of the genre to local up-and-comers -- seven nights a week, 52 weeks a year, in a respectful setting where the focus is on the music, not the money.

The Annenberg Foundation is a private family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. The Foundation and its Board of Directors are also directly involved in the community with innovative projects that further its mission to advance the public well-being through improved communication. The Foundation encourages the development of effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.

Contact Information