Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How do you measure a nonprofit's impact on its community?

In the case of the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, you do it one class at a time, one student helped at a time, one workshop or master class at a time. For more than 40 years, MCG has been a multi-disciplined arts and learning center that fosters a sense of belonging, interconnections and hope within the urban community. Its state-of-the-art facility on Pittsburgh’s North Shore contains visual arts, design, ceramics and photography classrooms, a dining hall, auditorium/concert hall, and gallery to showcase creativity and craftsmanship in learning.

The MCG Jazz program, now in its 25th year, is preserving, presenting and promoting jazz music to increase its intercultural understanding and appreciation in western Pennsylvania and around the globe.

MCG President and CEO Bill Strickland recalls giving Dizzy Gillespie a tour of the school when he visited and performed in 1989. Gillespie told him: “You know... you are a great jazz musician yourself. This place is our instrument, man, and everything that happens here is your song.”

The MCG Jazz concert series, drawing thousands of visitors to MCG each year and resulted in a steady stream of quality live performance recordings, has tangible numbers are quite staggering.

  • 515,970 attendees
  • 1,638 concerts
  • 40 albums
  • 4 Grammy Awards

Kudos go out to MCG Jazz Executive Producer Marty Ashby and his dedicated team as they ready for the 25th anniversary season, which includes 16 concerts between late September and mid-May 2012. It opens with the Bob Mintzer Big Band and concludes with Kurt Elling Swings Sinatra.

Others on the bill include Pat Metheny with bassist Larry Grenadier; Pancho Sanchez; Take Six; Jon Faddis; the Count Basie Orchestra with the New York Voices; Chick Corea performing solo; and Toots Thielemans with Kenny Werner.

Pittsburgh is blessed to have such a vibrant arts force in its midst.

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