Our Signature Event

The “Smooth Jazz in the Park Festival” is Project ArtReach’s signature event.  We have been presenting this free, family-friendly event, in conjunction with the city of Forest Park, for over a decade.  In addition to providing quality musical talent, World renowned artist Gilbert Young has painted eight original works of art on stage during the performances.  The “Art of Jazz I” and “Art of Jazz II” are available for purchase.  Proceeds from the sale of these extraordinary works will benefit future Project ArtReach, Inc. programming. 

Smooth Jazz in the Park Festival

The “Smooth Jazz in the Park Festival” began in 2002, is a free outdoor event featuring international, national and regional smooth jazz artists.  Previous performers include: saxophonist Marion Meadows, guitarist Ken Navarro, female jazz artists Straight Ahead, jazz keyboardist Bob Baldwin, keyboardist Alex Bugnon, keyboardist Lao Tizer, violinist Karen Briggs, Fo/Mo/Deep, Urban Jazz Coalition, and others. 

For 2017, we are proud to present local young jazz performers opening the show, the Ed "Saxman" Thomas Group and national headliner: The Urban Jazz Coalition!
The “Smooth Jazz in the Park” Festival is a family Friendly Event! 

Gilbert Young

Gilbert Young is a nationally renowned artist, muralist, arts advocate and conservator.  Born and raised in Cincinnati Ohio, he served twenty-seven years as Director and Conservator of the multi-million dollar University of Cincinnati Fine Art Collection. In 1994 he was named Artist-in-Residence to the University and became Artist-in-Residence to the Cincinnati State/University of Cincinnati collaboration Gear-Up program in 2004.

He has traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia as Artistic Director for the International Paint Pals Art Competition in conjunction with the 1996 Olympics and the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and was commissioned by Procter & Gamble to design the Salute to Greatness Award presented annually by the King Center.  In 2006 he was commissioned by the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP) to create a commemorative award named for the founder, Hattie Dorsey.
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Gilbert serves on the board of the Cincinnati-based non-profit organization Project ArtReach as Curator of Visual Arts.  In Atlanta, he serves as board member on many organizations; the Heritage Arts Festival, and President of the He Ain’t Heavy Foundation, Inc.  In addition Young provides service to an international advisory board for The ArtReach Foundation, Inc. as consultant on the Breaking the Veils: Women Artists of the Islamic World exhibit which debuted at the Clinton Library and Presidential Center in Little Rock.

Gilbert’s artwork can be found in galleries throughout the United States and select cities around the world. He is the first artist to perform live on stage accompanied by an entire symphony orchestra while creating a commemorative work. The performance, in 2003, was in honor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra’s 15th Anniversary summer concert series and was conducted by the Grammy Award winner, Eric Kunzel.               

Gilbert has been commissioned by many organizations and corporations including BellSouth, Procter & Gamble, and the National Council of Negro Women. He is a frequent lecturer, and was invited to speak at Harvard Law School, Harvard College in Boston, Spelman College and Morehouse College in Atlanta.               

Currently, Gilbert is involved in the fight to bring the monument to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., back from the People’s Republic of China.  He is co-founder of grassroots protest organization called King is Ours. The organization is protesting decisions made by the MLK Memorial Project Foundation to import granite for the proposed monument from China; protesting the use of slave labor to quarry the granite; and protesting the use of an artist from China who is famous in China for glorifying the mass murderer Mao Zedong.  

Most recently, Young has become the first artist to receive an official endorsement from President Barack Obama. An original portrait by Gilbert was presented to Obama and was signed by the President while running for office.

For further information: www.kingisours.com www.myspace.com/gilbertyoungart
Project ArtReach Artist Photos
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Previous Jazz Artists Include

As part of our on-going mission to educate and expose young people to the “beautiful art of jazz”, we also provide an opportunity for up-and-coming young jazz musicians to showcase their talent. 

Previous performers include:  
  • Reggie Calloway - 2002
  • Mike Wade - 2002
  • Marion Meadows – 2003
  • Ken Navarro – 2004
  • The Jazz Patrol - 2004
  • William Menefield - 2004
  • Bob Baldwin – 2005
  • Latin Xposure - 2005
  • Straight Ahead – 2006
  • Dawn Bosan - 2006
  • Brenda Flowers Quartet - 2006
  • Alex Bugnon – 2007
  • Gregg Bacon - 2007
  • Jimmy McGee - 2007
  • Warren Hill – 2008
  • Brian O’Neal - 2008
  • Eddie Love Big Band - 2008
  • Lao Tizer Band feat. Karen Briggs - 2009 
  • At Eazz - 2009
  • Joe Johnson - 2010
  • Fo/Mo/Deep – 2011 & 2013 
  • Soul Fusion - 2012
  • Hank Stephens Experience - 2012
  • Blue Wisp Young Lions – 2012 & 2015
  • Big Chip & The Boys - 2012
  • Young Jazz Messengers – 2013, 2014 & 2015
  • SWAGG - 2013 & 2016
  • Quadrafonics – 2014
  • Bruce Menefield - 2014 
  • Robert Sanae – 2015
  • Nasti Nati Brass Band - 2016
  • Urban Jazz Coalition – 2017 
  • Ed "Saxman" Thomas Group - 2017
*** Headliners in bold



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