five points jazz

A jazz performer high fives an audience member during the 2019 Five Points Jazz Festival in Denver, Colo. 

Denver Arts and Venues is offering small grants throughout September to fund jazz events held in the Five Points neighborhood.

The Five Points Jazz Activation grants will provide $15,000 for programs and initiatives that celebrate jazz and its legacy in Five Points, the city announced Wednesday. Applications opened Tuesday and will close at the end of the month.

“Our hope is that we will be able to keep jazz music alive in Five Points, while also supporting artists, musicians and businesses in the community,” said Brooke Dilling with Denver Arts and Venues.

Five Points is a historical cultural center of Denver, especially for jazz. From the 1930s to the 1960s, the neighborhood was home to several jazz clubs and venues that hosted legends including Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis.

During this time, the neighborhood was considered the only Jazz scene between St. Louis and the west coast, earning Five Points the nickname “Harlem of the West.”

The launch of this fund comes after the annual Five Points Jazz Festival put on by Denver Arts and Venues was canceled in 2021 and forced to go virtual in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The festival was not feasible this year, but we didn’t want our support of jazz in the Five Points neighborhood to vanish completely, not after bringing the Five Points Jazz Festival to Denver for almost two decades,” Dilling said.

The fund will provide up to $5,000 per applicant. The grants must be used for events in 2021, but there will be a second round of grants for events in 2022.

Applications are available online through Thursday, Sept. 30 at 5 p.m. More information is available at artsandvenues.com/5PJF.