South Arts Hires Sara Donnelly to Launch New National Jazz Program

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Atlanta – South Arts has hired veteran arts administrator Sara Donnelly to develop and launch a new national program supporting jazz artists through expanded opportunities to tour. Donnelly, hailing from Washington, D.C., brings decades of experience as a jazz advocate, administrator, presenter and consultant.

As ‘Director, Jazz,’ Donnelly will oversee the forthcoming program Jazz Road. This initiative, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is led by South Arts in partnership with the five other U.S. Regional Arts Organizations (Arts Midwest, Mid America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Western Arts Alliance/WESTAF), will offer support for jazz artists to tour to new communities around the country.

“This will be a truly artist-centric program to support jazz,” said Donnelly. “Over the next few months, we will hold meetings in each region to hear what resources artists most need to increase their ability to tour, while reaching new locales and listeners.”

Donnelly is an experienced arts administrator and jazz specialist. She has held grantmaking positions in the national jazz and arts funding arenas, including with the National Endowment for the Arts (Jazz Fellowships, Multi-Music Presenters); National Jazz Service Organization (Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest National Jazz Network); Association of Performing Arts Professionals (Continuing Education/Arts Partners); and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (Jazz Next, French-American Jazz Exchange, Jazz Touring Network).

She has consulted for the DC Jazz Festival, launching DCJazzPrix, the festival’s inaugural competition recognizing and awarding emerging, excellent jazz bands from across the U.S. She has also co-produced concerts for Transparent Productions in Washington, D.C. and Jazz at the Johns Hopkins Club in Baltimore. Donnelly is a founding board member of CapitalBop, Inc in Washington, D.C.

For additional information about South Arts and to stay informed about the forthcoming jazz program, please visit and follow South Arts on social media.

About South Arts

South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environment, medical research and child well-being, and through the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The Arts Program of DDCF has provided grants to the jazz field since the foundation was established in 1997. In her will, Doris Duke, who studied jazz piano and composition throughout her life, expressed her interest in assisting performing artists in fulfilling their ambitions and providing opportunities for the public presentation of their work. Given this guidance and Doris Duke’s interests during her life, the foundation focuses its funding on contemporary dance, jazz and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. To learn more, visit

About the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. Additional information is available at