Twin Cities Jazz Festival

With Knight Arts Challenge; Twin Cities Jazz Festival Will Grow Over the Next Two Years

Saint Paul, MN, October 17, 2014 — The Twin Cities Jazz Festival announced that it will use its $125,000 two-year Knight Arts Challenge grant to build attendance and expand the Festival with more stages and additional headliners. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge funds ideas that engage and enrich Saint Paul through the arts.

Twin Cities Jazz Festival founder and executive director Steve Heckler wants to grow Jazz Fest into a world-class event. “The Knight Arts Challenge funds will allow us to expand and to do things are we wouldn’t normally be able to afford,” Heckler said. “We’re looking at opportunities around our established location in and around Mears Park and are also at adding some year-round events. We want to bring in popular national headliners, hire more local musicians and partner with other Saint Paul organizations for performances and events so we can showcase and grow jazz in our community.”

Last January, the Miami-based nonprofit Knight Foundation announced a major investment in Saint Paul: $8 million in new funding to “engage and enrich the city through the arts.” Earlier this year five Saint Paul arts institutions received $3.5 million. The remainder, $4.5 million, was set up in the Knight Arts Challenge open to anyone one in the community to present an idea for the arts in Saint Paul in 150 words. Over 868 proposals were submitted by individuals, groups, nonprofits, corporations, schools and colleges. From those submissions, 42 winners — sharing a total of $1.365 million — were announced on September 25.

“Everywhere you go in Saint Paul, we’d like for you to have an encounter with art. We hope that challenge funding can help the Twin Cities Jazz Festival bring music more deeply into the city and to more people,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for Knight Foundation.

The Twin Cities Jazz Festival was this year’s recipient of the largest share of funding — a $125,000 grant to be used over two years. Entering its 17th year, the Jazz Fest has grown into a free, three-day event that draws more than 30,000 people to Saint Paul each year. The 2015 Twin Cities Jazz Festival is scheduled for June 25–27, 2015.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit