Programs: In 2013-14, mcg jazz presented its 27th successful season. Attendance for shows was approximately 19,000; 13,000 of which were attendees of shows at the mcg concert hall. Mcg jazz' audience retention efforts centered on a recently-held subscription renewal campaign, which boasted a much higher than average renewal rate of 90 percent. Highlights from the season included performances by the following established and emerging jazz artists and groups: dave koz and friends; poncho sanchez latin jazz band; bill frisell; ahmad jamal; the new gary burton quartet; take 6; bob james; david sanborn, featuring steve gadd; eliane elias; paul winter sextet; acoustic alchemy; joshua redman; diane schuur; pittsburgh jazz orchestra holiday celebration, featuring freddy cole; spanish harlem orchestra; chucho valdes; newport jazz festival; allan harris and ernie andrews; ramsey lewis; kevin eubanks; bobby watson & horizon; brad mehldau trio; and cassandra wilson. Recent efforts by mcg jazz to nurture a new and expanded appreciation for jazz in the pittsburgh region and serve a larger number and greater variety of local residents have also been successful. During the summer of 2013, mcg jazz presented two shows-dave koz summer horns and poncho sanchez latin jazz band-at robert morris university in moon township. An obvious demographic skew toward a younger audience was noted at each of these events and the partnership continues this season with jazz attack! With rick braun, peter white and euge groove. In 2013-14, mcg jazz conducted a nation-wide search to find the next great male jazz vocalist to represent the younger generation with the gentlemen sing: three generations of song, featuring allan harris and ernie andrews. The winner of the competition, milton suggs, performed with allan harris and ernie andrews as part of mcg jazz' regular concert season on february 28, 2014. Plans are underway to feature suggs and other finalists either at mcg or an offsite venue at a future concert. Mcg jazz further strengthened its national presence and excellent reputation for products and services with its continuation of live and recorded webcasts and the establishment of its digital store. Mcg jazz now has a consistent online presence outside of western pennsylvania with a corresponding expansion of audience. Concerts that were webcast live included the new gary burton quartet, paul winter sextet, and bobby watson & horizon. Additionally, performances by acoustic alchemy and spanish harlem orchestra were recorded and webcast as archival performances. Mcg jazz expanded its technological marketing and use of social media tools in 2013-14, including facebook, youtube, spotify, itunes and the digital music store on the mcg jazz website. The reduction in the use of more costly traditional marketing channels, including print and radio, allowed for an extensive facebook advertising campaign. The organization noted a 25-percent increase in its number of facebook page likes (currently 1,642), and boosted posts had an engagement rate 800 percent higher than non-boosted posts. Mcg jazz also credits its enhanced social media presence with increased traffic on its website-an eight percent overall growth in unique visitors. Mcg jazz continues to develop the jazz commons website and is on-track to officially launch the site in fall of 2014. Currently, 75 percent of all shows produced in mcg jazz' concert hall since 1987 (over 1,600 shows) have information uploaded to the jazz commons site. Information uploaded includes concert recordings, photos, video footage, scanned images of set-lists and band rosters, and other pertinent meta-data. Once completed, the jazz commons will be an invaluable resource to jazz scholars and interested fans alike. In february of 2014, the mcg jazz concert hall was included by downbeat magazine in its list of the world's 160 great jazz rooms for the fourth consecutive year. To help maintain this status, mcg jazz began conducting the first and only upgrades in the concert hall's 27-year history. With funding from the allegheny regional asset district, the organization began to address structural issues with the stage ceiling so that it can support a sophisticated lighting grid system designed to be operated by a state-of-the-art programmable system of controls. The new lighting system will be brighter, more energy-efficient and ready for future upgrades as funding permits.
mcg youth & arts programming includes school-day arts-integrated curricula, afterschool studio-arts classes, and summer programs. All programs are led by teaching artists who actively practice art and mentor students. Mcg youth & arts offers students a much-needed option: a proven, inspirational arts program that positively impacts high-school graduation rates, fosters character development and career aspiration, and reaches far beyond classroom education to shape students' lives well into the future. Students are also introduced to the work of nationally and internationally renowned visiting artists who exhibit their work onsite, conduct student workshops, and present artist talks. Visiting artists share their personal and professional perspectives and experiences with young people to increase the depth and breadth of student engagement with artistic processes and concepts and foster new life skills. Mcg youth & arts' programming also includes student exhibitions, award ceremonies, activities for students and their families, and public events and activities. Through mcg youth & arts, students learn, create, and celebrate while developing greater self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment through creative self-expression. Mcg youth & arts provides educational opportunities and a safe environment in which each student's mind and hands are engaged and their contributions are validated by peers and mentors, including teaching artists on staff as well as visiting artists. Following are highlights of mcg youth & arts' achievements in fy 2013-14:afterschool programming - during the 2013-14 school year, 354 unique youth from the pittsburgh public schools occupied a total of 559 slots in mcg youth & arts flagship apprenticeship training program (atp). Mcg continued to offer atp to a greater variety of youth populations throughout allegheny county, including youth from urban pathways charter school (upcs). The program continued to produce meaningful results with 99 percent of seniors who had taken part in atp graduating high school on-time, a number that stands in stark contrast to the pittsburgh public schools' graduation rate of 77 percent (source: the annie e. Casey foundation). During the 2013-14 school year, 69 percent of youth enrolled in mcg's afterschool programs qualified for free or reduced lunch and 53 percent were active in the dhs system and are therefore considered at-risk. School-day programming - mcg youth & arts school-day programming continued to serve middle-school-aged youth from manchester academic charter schools (macs), high-school-aged youth who have been placed in allegheny county's department of human services' (dhs) residential homes, and youth from pittsburgh manchester k-8 (pgh-man). The expanded school-day programs offered to dhs, macs, and pgh-man served approximately 120 youth last year. Up to 20 students from macs attended studio seminars on fridays as a complement to their school day. Children who attend holy family institute through dhs and students from city connections attended mcg youth & arts twice weekly for school-day arts experiences that closely parallel mcg's atp. School-day programs continued to generate income for mcg youth & arts while increasing service to disadvantaged youth, consistent with mcg's mission. Summer programming - mcg youth & arts' 2014 summer program offered middle- and high-school-aged youth hands-on arts instruction across three, two-week sessions. Speaker series - in 2013-14, mcg youth & arts continued its speaker series with a presentation from joseph e. Bailey, sr. From u. S. Bancorp, who gave a compelling speech about his life and childhood, the importance of education and finding his own voice as a singer. Visiting artists and professional exhibitions - through the mcg youth & arts visiting artists program, youth were presented with engaging examples of successful careers in the arts. In october 2013, dr. Sharif bey-an mcg alumnus and current associate professor of art, design and transmedia at syracuse university-returned to mcg as a visiting artist. Bey engaged youth in a hands-on workshop and held a public exhibition of his new ceramic work, entitled here & now, in mcg's connie kerr gallery from october 17 to december 20, 2013. In january 2014, acclaimed sculptor peter calaboyias, who began his 33-year teaching career on pittsburgh's northside, served as a visiting artist. Calaboyias returned to mcg to exhibit northside and beyond, give a public lecture on his work, and offer a hands-on workshop for youth from mcg youth & arts. His exhibition ran from january 21 to march 31, 2014. Student exhibitions - in fy 2013-14, mcg hosted a total of five student exhibitions. At the conclusion of each trimester, student work was exhibited and celebrated during each of three family nights held on november 21, 2013; march 6, 2014; and may 29, 2014. The third-trimester family night doubled as the reception for the 32nd annual accomplishment exhibition. This exhibition, which ran from may 29 through august 1, 2014, highlighted work created by mcg youth & arts participants throughout the school year. The annual mcg invitational arts exhibition included work by high school youth enrolled in city charter high school, east allegheny high school, manchester craftsmen's guild, neighborhood academy, penn hills high school, pittsburgh allderdice high school, pittsburgh brashear high school, pittsburgh capa 6-12, pittsburgh carrick high school, pittsburgh milliones 6-12, pittsburgh obama 6-12 , pittsburgh science and technology, propel andrew street high school, propel braddock hills high school, and urban pathways charter school. The 2013 mcg invitational marked the first time that youth from neighborhood academy, penn hills high school, and propel andrew street academy took part in this growing youth exhibition and scholarship opportunity. Out of 474 submissions from allegheny county youth for the exhibition, 236 pieces from 117 students were chosen to compete for over $100,000 in scholarships and cash awards. Nearly 370 students, parents and members of pittsburgh's corporate, nonprofit, government, and arts communities attended the 2014 mcg invitational arts exhibition and awards ceremony. Many others viewed and purchased the student work that was on exhibition. Youth from four school districts in the pittsburgh area received 70 awards for their creative and artistic achievements. Mcg youth & arts also held three exhibitions of youth work in the susan zubik welcome center at catholic charities, including macro photography (september 27, 2013), drawing portraits and figures (january 24, 2014), and process masters (april 25, 2014). Opening receptions for these exhibitions were held in conjunction with the pittsburgh cultural trust's gallery crawls. Over 2,000 individuals attended these opening events. College and career exposure - a recently conducted survey of 2014 seniors showed that among youth who had enrolled in mcg's afterschool courses during their high school career, 91 percent planned to pursue post-secondary education. Ninety-two percent of respondents agreed that mcg played a role in encouraging them to research and/or apply to college. In fy 2013-14, mcg youth & arts took youth to visit slippery rock university to help them better understand post-graduation opportunities. In september 2013, a representative from alfred university gave a presentation about the university's undergraduate programs. The presentation included images of the campus and students working, as well as a discussion about professors and campus life. In november 2013, mcg staff took seven students to baltimore, maryland for the national portfolio day 2013, hosted at the maryland institute college of art (mica). Students had their portfolios reviewed by representatives from 50 colleges and universities across the united states. Adult programming - in fy 2013-14, mcg youth & arts held three art after dark classes attended by 32 adult students. Classes were offered in digital photography, ceramics, photoshop, and digital music. Adult participants in art after dark displayed their work publicly in three exhibitions at mcg, including 39 on the wall (reception on september 11, 2013), digital hodgepodge (reception on december 4, 2013), and art deco (reception on march 5, 2014). Mcg also hosted an in-service program for pps art instructors. Over 80 teachers attended and received act 48 credits for their participation in hands-on programs offered in each of mcg youth & arts four studios. Radical days - mcg held its radical days event on october 2, 2013 visitors were afforded opportunities to work with teaching artists to silk-screen their own t-shirts, have portrait photos taken and observe wheel-throwing demonstrations by teaching artists. Mcg jazz presented a special solo piano presentation from tom roberts on the history of jazz piano in pittsburgh.