The Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts is a unique Milwaukee venue. The all-ages Riverwest space regularly hosts jazz shows (natch), hip-hop shows, noise shows, gallery shows, and more. In an age when the word “community” gets tossed around a bit too liberally, the Jazz Gallery truly is a community space.

So it’s no surprise that the venue is turning to the community for a little help. From November 8 through November 11, the Jazz Gallery will host four eclectic shows designed to raise money for some much-needed equipment upgrades and building maintenance. The shows are part of a larger capital campaign dubbed “Raise the Roof.”

Why “Raise the Roof”? Well, because the roof needs fixing. “This part of our fundraising effort seeks to quite literally ‘raise’ and replace our very aged, flat roof,” reads a press release. “Water is no friend to electronic gear. While some of our experimental musicians have incorporated the sound of water drops into their improvisations, this old roof threatens our center’s basic functioning. Our ‘Dizzy Gillespie’ leak actually dripped on that jazz giant when played at the original Jazz Gallery in the early 1980s. Even then, major musicians played under plastic tarps, risking their lives on a stage with buckets of water catching drips over sprawls of amplifier cables. It’s time to raise this roof! We have a state of the art 21st century bid to replace the roof with contemporary materials and insulation that will last many decades.”

Here’s info on the upcoming shows. A full press release follows.

11/8: Noise show featuring Phoned Nil Trio, Nick Elert, Margery Kempe, Citizen 2-13, C Olivia Valenza
11/9: Milwaukee Jazz All Stars
11/10: OneNationMKE Hip Hop Showcase
11/11: Free improvisation from Seed Sounds

Our community art center presents diverse programming and events in many different genres of the arts. Much of this programming relies on the audio equipment we have on site. Through the generosity of several donors, we’ve improved our equipment recently to meet some basic needs. However, what we have remains inadequate to properly present the demanding, adventurous performance genres we give voice to. Additionally, our educational mission has inspired us to seek ways to use our venue to educate and provide career opportunities to youth and fledgling musicians of all ages.

For this we require a built-in sound system that doesn’t clash with our on-going visual arts exhibits, an advanced soundboard and other accessories that will enable the recording and broadcast of our performances, and equipment for instruction in DJing, sound engineering, business skills and venue management.

That’s why we’re embarking on a capital campaign entitled “Raise the Roof” to raise funds to purchase equipment for performances, education, and career development. This includes the equipment mentioned as well as some initial funds to begin the educational programming which is already in the planning stage with instructors identified and basic curriculum determined.

Wondering about the “roof” part? This part of our fundraising effort seeks to quite literally “raise” and replace our very aged, flat roof. Water is no friend to electronic gear.

While some of our experimental musicians have incorporated the sound of water drops into their improvisations, this old roof threatens our center’s basic functioning. Our “Dizzy Gillespie” leak actually dripped on that jazz giant when played at the original Jazz Gallery in the early 1980’s. Even then, major musicians played under plastic tarps, risking their lives on a stage with buckets of water catching drips over sprawls of amplifier cables. It’s time to raise this roof! We have a state of the art 21st century bid to replace the roof with contemporary materials and insulation that will last many decades.

As custodians of this legendary space, we want to do better. We want our burgeoning community of performers, listeners, learners, and creators to thrive ever more, to keep our doors open to arts and celebrations. Please help us raise the roof!

About The Author

Matt Wild
Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.

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