Gabriel Bey of Local 586 (Phoenix, AZ), longtime arts promoter and union committee outreach chair, came up with an idea to bolster the local Phoenix arts community during the pandemic. With a grant from the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF)—he and Sandra Bassett, also of Local 586, created a special live-streamed concert series to celebrate the city’s vibrant, diverse music scene.
As president and CEO of West Valley Arts, Bassett was in the perfect position to promote the project. West Valley Arts was already recognized as an inclusive, multidisciplinary organization that serves a broad audience through public art and education. This series, “Imprint: The Cultural Sounds of America,” only strengthens their goals. The music series, which opened in February for Black History Month, celebrated the diversity and multiculturalism of the community by showcasing a variety of local jazz and blues musicians. Live-streamed performances were hosted by the Westside Blues and Jazz Club in Glendale, AZ.
Bassett says, “It was [Gabriel’s] vision to bring different genres of music to the community and to give musicians a safe place to play during these difficult times.”
The series wrapped up at the end of April, but Basset says, “As we move slowly toward some semblance of normalcy—but keeping in mind the challenges still posed by the coronavirus pandemic—we want to be able to provide live performance opportunities that also serve as a fundraiser for the Westside Blues & Jazz Club and musicians who have been significantly affected by the pandemic.” She adds, “And what better to lift our spirits than music?”