Smithsonian receives $2.5M to expand jazz programs at museum

WASHINGTON (AP) — An artist’s foundation is donating $2.5 million as an endowment to expand jazz programming at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The museum will announce Tuesday that artist LeRoy Neiman’s foundation is donating the funds, as well as Neiman’s painting “Big Band.” The colorful, large-scale painting features 18 famous jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

The painting has been installed near the museum’s new Jazz Cafe. The cafe will be redesigned this year to include jazz visuals from the museum’s collection. Nearby, the museum is also displaying Duke Ellington’s traveling piano and Gene Krupa’s bass drum.

The donation comes just before Jazz Appreciation Month in April. The museum launched the month of events in 2001 to pay tribute to jazz as an original American art form.