News from Toledo

Thanks to Doug Swiatecki’s Toledo Jazz Newsletter we have some news from south of the Michigan border. All jazz fans know that Toledo’s most well-known jazz musician is pianist Art Tatum who was born there in 1909 and left for New York in 1932. There is now some movement in Toledo to renovate Tatum’s home.

A group called the Art Tatum Zone (ATZ) is working to restore the Tatum home and others in the neighborhood as well. The ATZ is set to receive $400,000 in grant money to help with the project. Toledo-based ProMedica has provided a great deal of funding for the grants. A long-term goal of the project is to make the home into a museum. Swiatecki says the entire city looks forward to the restoration project and to having a museum dedicated to Tatum’s genius.

The pandemic has hit and continues to hit Toledo’s artistic community with a sledgehammer. Some good news on that front, however, is that The Arts Commission — with funding from Lucas County — was able to disburse $425,000 in grants to artists and related arts organizations as of January 2021. The tally, to date, is 190 artists and 14 organizations helped. This situation is still dire; hopefully readers, in the spirit of community, are doing their part to support arts and artists as this pandemic drags on.

The Second Sunday Jazz Jam would usually premiere in March, but Keith Bernhard recently posted this note about the situation:

“Our ‘normal’ opening SSJJ event would be in March, but alas, not this year. The pandemic continues, but as those who are vaccinated breathe sighs of relief, our optimism is rising. Maybe this summer?”