I have long felt that students who learn something about jazz music will not only appreciate it as an important American art form, but, once exposed to it will also discover artistic inspiration from it. Fortunately, there are members of the Portland education community who share this view, so on Monday of this week I was privileged to teach a “Short History of Jazz” class to three photography/graphic design classrooms at Portland’s Lincoln High School. This is part of a project — “Jazz in the Schools” — we developed at PDX Jazz, the presenting organization of the Portland Jazz Festival.
After seeing classic film of Louis Armstrong and viewing a variety of album and jazz festival photography, art and graphic design, participating photography students are now prepared for their assignment – taking an original photograph of any subject, person, object or setting that demonstrates their personal vision for jazz. They will then collaborate with students from the graphic design class and combine their artistic visions, with each team creating a poster for the upcoming Jazz Festival, to be held at a variety of venues throughout Portland from February 17 – March 1. The four best entries will hang in the window at the downtown Target store, and be pictured in the Festival program. (All entries will also be shown on the PDX Jazz website).
If this pilot program is successful, it is my hope to make this assignment available to a substantial number of community classrooms of all age groups, with their resulting “Art of Jazz” creations hung up all over town during the Portland Jazz Festival season. I will point you to the art on the PDX Jazz website once it is published sometime in mid-February. Meanwhile, for more information about PDX Jazz and the Portland Jazz Festival, click here.