June 18, 2020 Newsletter   #347

The Jazz Bridge Project, the non-profit organization devoted to assisting Philadelphia-area jazz and blues artists with their crisis needs, has named Joseph L. Lewis, III as its new Executive Director.

Lewis succeeds Jeffrey Duperon, who held the post for one year prior to his passing in June 2019, and Suzanne Cloud, who together with Wendy Simon founded Jazz Bridge in 2004.

"All of us at Jazz Bridge are thrilled to welcome Joseph to lead the organization in this exciting stage of growth," said Rhenda Fearrington, a jazz vocalist who is President of the Jazz Bridge Board of Directors. "His experience in the creative arts and expertise as a cultural entrepreneur will serve us well as we build on our many years of service to the local jazz community and meet the new challenges before us."

"I am truly excited about the opportunity to spearhead the efforts of an established organization whose mission is to support working jazz and blues artists in need. I also look forward to engaging and collaborating with the dynamic Philadelphia area jazz and creative communities," Lewis said.

Joseph L. Lewis, III is an award-winning television producer and has over 20 years' experience working for non-profits and creative enterprises. His prior non-profit positions have been with the YMCA of Philadelphia, The Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, The Kelly Strayhorn Theatre and the August Wilson African American Cultural Center.

Fearrington added, "I also want to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of Kim Tucker, our Program Director and 13 year Jazz Bridge veteran, who willingly and lovingly stepped in as Interim Executive Director at a time when we were reeling from the deaths of Jeff Duperon and Jim Miller, a jazz drummer and former Board member who served as our Administrative Assistant. During the past year and a half, Kim shared her wisdom, historical knowledge and genuine understanding of the jazz culture in Philadelphia, compassion for every musician in this town, stability, and - above all - her positives! Together with our 'small but mighty' team of volunteer Board Members, Kim kept the organization on a steady keel during a difficult yet productive chapter in Jazz Bridge's history." Tucker will continue to serve as Program Director.

About Joseph L. Lewis, III:  As a television producer, Lewis has worked on several documentary projects that aired on NBC, Bravo, PBS, and the A&E network. These programs include: The four-part television series "Images & Realities," three films that illuminated the careers of Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney and Dizzy Gillespie respectively, and another project that provided the historic context of the NAACP. He is the Co-Creator and Executive Producer of the Award - Winning animated DVD - The Adventures of Teddy P. Brains: Journey into the Rainforest, and was Producer of Science Mission 101,which won the 2010 Best Children's Program award from the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters for PBS media platform WQED.

Most recently, Joe served as Director of Community Engagement for Mullen Advertising, Director of Business Development for Acrobatique Creative and Director of Advertising/Marketing for the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival and the Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival. He is also the Founder/Curator of the Black Bottom Film Festival. Previously, Joe covered politics and the courts for the Philadelphia Tribune and served as a Marketing Manager/Contributing Editor for HealthQuest: The Publication of Black Wellness.

Joe is a graduate of Duquesne University and lived in Philadelphia for 20 years prior to his time living and working in Pittsburgh. He is the proud father of two, a son Jared and a daughter Dylan.

About Jazz Bridge:  Jazz Bridge was founded by jazz singers Suzanne Cloud and Wendy Simon in 2004 to address the lack of support for professional jazz and blues musicians in crisis living and working in the Greater Philadelphia Metro area. For years, they had witnessed their fellow musicians' struggles and the desperation felt by some when the traditional jam session was the only way to raise money to deal with hardships or times of trouble. Seeking a more permanent and secure support system, Simon and Cloud assembled like-minded musicians and fans to form The Jazz Bridge Project, the organization's official name.  

Jazz Bridge incorporated in Pennsylvania in May 2005 and was awarded tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) public charity by the IRS in 2007.

The founding Board recognized a special opportunity to develop a unique, regional model that could provide help to musicians during hard times, while also increasing public awareness of the tradition, history, and current state of original music in the Philly area by presenting neighborhood concerts hosted and curated by notable musicians from the region. This dual focus still drives Jazz Bridge today. ( https://www.jazzbridge.org

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"Harmonizing Art and Life"
The Jazz Bridge Project
4220 Main Street
Philadelphia, PA 19127
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