A week ago, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture hosted its 37th annual Jazzy Holiday Gala. Jazzy, the museum’s major fundraiser, is a holiday season tradition in Charlotte.
For the 7th time, I was the event consultant.
The gala is a delicious creative outlet and a meaningful endeavor for me because it helps raise dollars and the public profile of the Gantt Center. Originating as a luncheon, Jazzy, after 39 years, transformed into an evening event in celebration of the Center’s 40th anniversary and remains a gala. Being a part of this event’s growth and evolution has been fulfilling. Plus, I am witness to and contribute to facets of Black philanthropy at its finest.
Each year, I come up with a new vision and organizing concept. Inspiration flows rather effortlessly on things that shape the event such as its colors and visual elements, key messages, music and featured forms of the arts. The Gantt Center staff and board members focus primarily on sponsorships, ticket sales and other fundraising strategies like art auctions and raffles. Annually, three recipients of the Spirit of the Center Award are selected and their award presentations are integrated into the event plan.
A record 800+ guests attended Jazzy 2017, which carried the theme Keep Cool. To make a gala of this scale a successful fundraiser and also a fun and entertaining event, collaboration with a host of vendors, performers and volunteers is essential. This encompasses about 250 people, performing services such as graphic design, printing, floral design, valet parking, sound and light production, set design, food and beverage preparation, security, coat check, entertainment, and more.
I’ve written about Jazzy over the years, like here and here and here and here. And below are links to recaps from over the years. All told during these years, Jazzy has honored over 21 people, hosted nearly 4,000 guests, and raised well over one million dollars. Now, how cool is that!
Imagine Anew | 2013
Remember | 2014
BIG Night | 2015
Art & Soul | 2016
Keep Cool | 2017