Robert Ginsburg will be one of 26 recipients from 23 cities across the United States, honored with a Jazz Journalist Association Hero award for 2016. Ginsburg began his music career in 1979 as a volunteer producer for a jazz radio show on KUAF-FM. Six years later it became a full-fledged National Public Radio affiliate. Today “Shades of Jazz,” Ginsburg’s Friday 10 pm-midnight broadcast stands as the station’s longest running program.

Jazz Journalist Association Jazz Hero awards are presented nationally to people who are “advocates, altruist activist, aiders and abettors of jazz and who have had significant impact in their community.”

“The Jazz Journalist Association couldn’t have awarded a more deserving recipient representing our jazz community than Robert Ginsburg,” said Peter B. Lane, president & CEO, Walton Arts Center. “He has played an active role for 25 years fostering an appreciation of jazz through music performances, his radio program and educating our youth in Northwest Arkansas.”

In 1992 Robert founded the Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society, a non-profit, community-based membership organization producing a fall-to-spring series featuring major jazz musicians; he continues to serve as its executive director. In 1993, he joined the steering committee assigned to bring focus and direction to Fayetteville’s then-emerging Walton Arts Center. When the multi-venue performing arts center opened its doors that year, he was named its Jazz Curator” – a position he still holds – booking a subscription series of nationally touring artists and guiding educational outreach to schools where they conduct workshops and masterclasses.

In 1999, Robert launched the Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society’s Summer Jazz Concert Series to showcase local and regional talent. He gradually expanded the series, offering performances not only in Fayetteville, but also Rogers, Springdale, Fort Smith, Little Rock and Bentonville. He broadened his base of support to attract young people with in-school programs and a scholarship for aspiring jazz musicians, which after 16 years has paid tuition for more than 65 students to attend Jamey Aebersold’s Summer Jazz Camp held in Louisville, Ken.

Most recently, with the support of Walton Arts Center and the Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society, Ginsburg launched the “Jazz Education Initiative.” This program was created to foster creative spirit and an appreciation of Jazz Arts through engagement, education and performance activities. The initiative cultivates jazz awareness throughout Northwest Arkansas through school performances, music workshops, artists in residency and public concerts. The Jazz Education Initiative seeks to create an environment in Northwest Arkansas that includes the sound of jazz as a pervasive and enriching presence.

Walton Arts Center Jazz Education Initiative and Jazz Collective Partnership
• Jazz is What You Make It – lecture and demonstrations by Fayetteville Jazz Collective in four Northwest Arkansas High Schools; April 1, April 8
• Plan for 2017 Youth Jazz Big Band
• Fayetteville Jazz Collective performs Jazz is What You Make It at Botanical Gardens for Jazz in Bloom; April 24
2016 Jazz Month Events
• Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society presents JAZZ IN BLOOM at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks; April 24 from 3-6 pm
• Malpaso with Arturo O’Farrill concert at Walton Arts Center; April 28 8 pm
• Arturo O’Farrill concert at Walton Arts Center; April 29 (two shows) 7 pm and 9 pm
• “Shades of Jazz” on KUAF on Friday nights 10 pm-midnight
• “Jazz Travels” on KUAF on Saturday nights 10pm-midnight
• “Swing Thing” on KUAF on Friday and Saturday nights midnight- 1am
• Claudia Burson Trio Jazz Brunch to celebrate International Jazz Day at Bordino’s 10 am-2 pm
• Roby Pantal playing at Copeland’s in Rogers on April 17 and April 24